Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1) has signed on to play President Lyndon B. Johnson in an upcoming biopic to be directed by Rob Reiner (The American President). The movie follows the story of Johnson from his young days in West Texas through his Presidency.
Since joining The Hunger Games series, Harrelson slowly rebuilt his career. Along with that franchise, he’s also part of the Now You See Me series, which has a sequel being released next year. Playing President Johnson could make him an awards contender, if the movie gets a fall release date.
This is a big project for Reiner who, most recently, has directed comedies like The Bucket List (2007), And So It Goes (2014), and The Magic of Belle Isle (2012). Reiner is known for his liberal beliefs. In the early 70s, he was the face of the hippy generation as Meathead on the sitcom All in the Family.
As time has passed and my understanding of political realities has grown; I’ve come to see LBJ in a very different light,” said Reiner in a statement. “He was a complex man; a combination of brilliant political instinct, raw strength, ambition, and deep insecurities.”
President Johnson was recently portrayed by Tom Wilkinson (The Grand Budapest Hotel) in last year’s civil rights biopic Selma. The character was a point of controversy for the movie, as many of his defenders thought he was portrayed in a negative light. Based on Reiner’s statement, it looks like this will paint the former President in a much more positive light.