Woody Harrelson Makes a Case for 'One of the Greatest Presidents Ever' With 'LBJ' (Exclusive)
By John Boone
Woody Harrelson may be an Academy Award nominee (for the third time) for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, but last year also saw him transform into president Lyndon B. Johnson for the biopic, LBJ. In this exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the filming of LBJ, Harrelson weighs in on the legacy of the 36th president.
"It's not even like I'm able to make a judgment yet on the good or bad of LBJ," the actor says. "Well, you can make a judgment. Vietnam? Bad. Domestic programs he got going -- the social programs, Head Start, the Civil Rights [and] the Voting Rights Act. Dozens and dozens of things he pushed through and then he got bogged down in Vietnam."
"Had he not," Harrelson adds, "I think he would be considered one of the greatest presidents ever."
Director Rob Reiner explains, "Hopefully [people will] see LBJ in a more human light and that we hopefully have painted a more detailed, complex picture of who he was and not just what his accomplishments were. He wasn't just some loudmouth from Texas who bullied people around and picked up dogs by their ears."
LBJ co-stars Harrelson's fellow Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water), as well as Michael Stahl-David, Bill Pullman and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Here is the movie's official synopsis:
"After Lyndon B. Johnson (Harrelson) loses the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination to John F. Kennedy (Jeffrey Donovan), he agrees to be his young rival’s running mate. Once they win the election, and despite his extensive experience and shrewd political instincts, Johnson finds himself sidelined in the nearly impotent role of vice president. But, that all changes on Nov. 22, 1963, when Kennedy is assassinated and Johnson is suddenly thrust into the presidency. As the nation mourns, Johnson must contend with adversaries as he seeks to honor JFK’s legacy by championing the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964."
LBJ is availably digitally and on Blu-ray and DVD on Feb. 6.