Presidential legacy is explored in Rob Reiner's new drama 'LBJ'

Friday, November 03, 2017 02:24PM
Director Rob Reiner transforms actor Woody Harrelson into the Presidential role in his new drama "LBJ."


LOS ANGELES - Director Rob Reiner heads back to the 1960s for his new movie, "LBJ." The film remembers the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson and how it all came to be.

In the film, we see how the former Senate majority leader, played by Woody Harrelson, feels sidelined in his new role of vice president. Of course, things change radically when President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in 1963 and LBJ becomes our nation's 36th president.

"Hopefully, by the end of the film, people have a greater sense of who this guy was," said Reiner. "And I gotta tell you, we showed this film at the LBJ library and Luci Baines, his daughter, was there. And I was dying. I was, 'Oh my god, what does she think of this thing?'"

And before we did the Q&A I asked her, I said, 'Luci, I just want to know what you think.' She stood up. She's a very proper, little tiny woman, she says, 'The man I saw on the screen tonight was the man I knew.' I said, 'Well, that's it for me.' That's all I needed to know."

Reiner freely admits he used to hate Johnson because he was of draft age during the Vietnam War when LBJ was in power. But he also said you can't overlook the good Johnson was able to do during his short time in office.

"He was able to pass the Civil Rights Act and voting rights and head start and Medicare and Medicaid and, you know, it goes on and on," said Reiner. "So that, to me, is what I wanted to focus on -- just how this guy was. And then civil rights because it's at the core of his legislative achievements. It becomes important because of the political landscape we're in now."

"LBJ" is rated R and is in theaters Nov. 3.
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