Now that his time with HBO’s True Detective is over, Woody Harrelson has been lining up an impressive list of projects on the horizon, and the latest one is certainly the most, well … presidential.
The Oscar-nominated actor will play U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson in the upcoming biopic LBJ, which will be directed by another well-known Oscar nominee, filmmaker Rob Reiner (A Few Good Men, The American President). The movie will follow Johnson’s rise to the presidency in the wake of U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. Faced with opposition from both parties, Johnson would go on forge a polarizing legacy, pushing through groundbreaking civil rights legislation while also escalating the country’s involvement in the Vietnam War.
“During the ’60s, I was a hippy and Lyndon Johnson was my president,” recalled Reiner in a statement accompanying the casting announcement. “At the time, LBJ was the target of most of my generation’s anti-Vietnam-War anger. But as time has passed and my understanding of political realities has grown; I’ve come to see LBJ in a very different light. He was a complex man; a combination of brilliant political instinct, raw strength, ambition, and deep insecurities. The strength and power of persuasion that he showed to his colleagues existed alongside of a soft, almost childlike quality that perhaps only Lady Bird got to see.”
“His life’s path was nothing short of Shakespearean,” continued Reiner. “From the poor hill country of West Texas to the corridors of power in Washington, he used his brilliant political acumen to pass the most groundbreaking civil rights legislation of the twentieth century. And had it not been for the Vietnam War, I believe he would have gone down as one of America’s greatest presidents.”
The script for LBJ was penned by Joey Hartstone, and will be the writer’s first feature film. Shooting on the film is expected to begin in September, with filming in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LA, as well as Dallas, TX, and Washington, D.C. There’s currently no release date set for LBJ.