Starring two-time Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson (The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Messenger) as Lyndon B. Johnson, LBJ chronicles the former Senate Majority Leader’s rise to power and his loss of the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination to Senator John F. Kennedy, who he would later serve as vice president. The film then follows Johnson’s efforts to push through the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964 after being thrust into the presidency as a result of Kennedy’s assassination.
Reiner, whose 1992 drama A Few Good Men earned him an Academy Award nomination, is no stranger to presidential stories. He also directed 1995’s The American President, which earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination. The ensemble cast for LBJ certainly doesn’t detract from the project’s awards cred, either, with Academy Award nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) portraying Lyndon’s wife, Lady Bird Johnson, and Academy Award nominee Richard Jenkins (The Visitor) cast as Lyndon’s former mentor, Georgia Senator Richard Russell.
In an interesting bit of familial typecasting, Burn Notice actor Jeffrey Donovan will play President John F. Kennedy, after having played JFK’s brother, Robert F. Kennedy, in director Clint Eastwood’s biopic J. Edgar six years ago.
The supporting cast for LBJ also includes Narcos actor Michael Stahl-David as Robert Kennedy, Bill Pullman (Independence Day) as Senator Ralph Yarborough, C. Thomas Howell (E.T. the Extraterrestrial, Animal Kingdom) as Walter Jenkins, and Doug McKeon (Uncle Joe Shannon) as Senator and later Vice President Hubert Humphrey. The script for the film was penned by Joey Hartstone (The Good Fight series) and appeared on the 2014 edition of the Black List, the annual industry list of the best un-produced screenplays circulating around Hollywood.
LBJ received its premiere screening at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, and was later screened at the 27th New Orleans Film Festival in 2016. The film received positive reviews at both festivals, and is scheduled for a mainstream release in U.S. theaters on November 3.
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