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Woody Harrelson to play US President LBJ for Rob Reiner

Rampart

Story by Jack Foley

WOODY Harrelson is to play former US president Lyndon Baines Johnson in the Rob Reiner-directed political drama LBJ.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film will chronicle the Southern politician’s rise to become the 36th President of the United States and the political upheaval that the then vice president faced when he was thrust into the presidency at the hands of an assassin’s bullet in November 1963.

In the wake of the assassination of JFK, Johnson struggled to heal a nation and secure his presidency but managed to pass Kennedy’s historic Civil Rights Act.

The drama is based on a script by Joey Hartstone and shooting is due to begin to in September in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Dallas and Washington.

Commenting on the project, director Reiner said in a statement: “During the ’60s, I was a hippy, and Lyndon Johnson was my president. 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 (First Lady) Lady Bird got to see. His life’s path was nothing short of Shakespearean.

“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 ground-breaking civil rights legislation of the 20th century. And had it not been for the Vietnam War, I believe he would have gone down as one of America’s greatest presidents.”

Harrelson will soon be seen in the final Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay – Part 2, which opens in cinemas in November.

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