Academy Award-nominated actor Woody Harrelson and Academy Award-nominated director Rob Reiner have signed onto the film LBJ, a political drama being produced by Acacia Entertainment, Savvy Media Holdings, Castle Rock Entertainment, and Star Thrower Entertainment. Reiner will helm the project with Harrelson signed on to portray Lyndon Baines Johnson, as he ascends to become the 36th President of the United States. Filming is slated to begin in September 2015 in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La., Dallas, Texas and Washington, D.C.
The project was originally developed by brothers Tim and Trevor White (Star Thrower Entertainment) and is being financed by Acacia Entertainment, Savvy Media Holdings, Parkside Pictures, ITS Capital and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC). Matthew George is producing the film alongside Rob Reiner, Liz Glotzer, Michael R. Williams and Tim and Trevor White. Executive producers include Martin Shafer (Castle Rock Entertainment), Elizabeth A. Bell (production counsel), Susan Lanot (SMBC), Danny Roth and Damiano Tucci (Parkside Pictures), Michael Tadross Jr. (Tadross Media Group) and Julie May (ITS Capital). Sales are being handled by Voltage Pictures (international) and Creative Artists Agency (North American).
The script by Joey Hartstone, a 2014 Black List winner, centers around the political upheaval that Vice President Johnson faced when he was thrust into the presidency at the hands of an assassin’s bullet in November 1963. With political battles on both sides of the aisle, Johnson struggles to heal a nation and secure his presidency by passing Kennedy’s historic Civil Rights Act.
“Tim and Trevor White did a great job developing this project and Joey’s screenplay truly captures the soul of Johnson as he navigates this turbulent time with a government and a country in crisis,” explained George.
“During the sixties,” recalled Reiner, “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 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 groundbreaking civil rights legislation of the twentieth century. And had it not been for the Vietnam War, I believe he would have gone down as one of America’s greatest presidents.”
“We’re very excited about this project and see its central message of overcoming the odds and personal redemption as having universal appeal,” noted George. “We’re all very much looking forward to working with two incredible artists, Reiner and Harrelson, and the rest of the team on this amazing project.”
(Photo Credit: WENN.com)