March 27, 2012 at 1:03 PM ET
LOS ANGELES -- The right wing is going to love this: Jane Fonda, whose outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War continues to enrage conservatives, will play former first lady Nancy Reagan in Lee Daniels' "The Butler."
"The Butler" is a sprawling historical drama that centers on Eugene Allen, a black man who worked as butler in the White House under eight presidents.
Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker ("The Last King of Scotland") is slated to play Allen. Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman and Liam Neeson are among the other big names who are circling roles in the project.
Daniels earned an Oscar nomination for directing "Precious" and is currently directing "The Paperboy" with Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron.
Fonda's performance would be a supporting one, because the film spans decades, chronicling Allen's years in the White House from 1952 all the way up to 1986, when the Reagans inhabited the White House.
After winning Oscars for films "Klute" and "Coming Home," Fonda retired from acting in 1990. After more than a decade spent largely out of the spotlight, she has slowly eased back into movies, starring in "Georgia Rule" (2007) and "Monster-in-Law"(2005).
She also stars in Bruce Beresford's upcoming family drama "Peace, Love and Misunderstanding."
Variety first reported that Fonda was in negotiations for "The Butler."