Williams plays President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Lee Daniels The Butler. The butler “Cecil” is hired during the Eisenhower’s administration. The story follows an African American butler who works at the White House and works for eight presidents. The movie stars Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey. Lee Daniels on Williams:
The challenge for Robin was about losing ‘Robin Williams’. It was hard because Robin has a tendency to make you laugh, so we had to strip him bare and make him quiet. It took a minute for him to get out of his comfort zone, which is always to make you laugh, to make you happy. Because Robin is the first president we see, he’s carrying the torch for the believability of all the presidents. Because he’s the first, people’s reaction is like: ‘Oh, that’s where we’re going with this movie’. He was okay with the combover! It was more me trying to make sure it was perfect. [Ike’s] landscapes… well, they weren’t that great. I told Robin to just paint, because that’s what Ike did, so half of each painting we have in the film was his. They were all paint-by-numbers.