Breaking Bad lead actor Bryan Cranston is back, and he plans to go bigger this time with his new HBO show All The Way.
Bryan Cranston will be playing President Lyndon B. Johnson. President Johnson just stepped in as the president of the United States after the “chaotic aftermath of JKF’s assassination.” He is planning to pass the Civil Rights Act during his first year in office.
Bryan Cranston won a Tony for his performance on the Broadway version of All The Way. The original Broadway play was created by Robert Schenkkan, and it lasted for six months in 2014.
When HBO offered a film adaptation for the play, Bryan Cranston did not hesitate. He said that the message that the story portrays is very important in today’s politics, according to Variety.
We could now reach millions more and tell this important story by way of HBO.
Schenkkan had to expand his script for the film adaptation to make way for more characters. It was also important for him to revise the storyline and make it a lot more accurate to emphasize President Johnson’s impact on U.S. democracy. The story shows the admirable traits of President Johnson, which included his natural political skills, his passion as a leader of a nation, and his determination to get things right.
Schenkkan said President Johnson has changed the United States, and his impact in its politics can still be seen in the modern-day political landscape.
“We live in Lyndon B. Johnson’s world today,” said Schenkkan.
All The Way director Jay Roach also added that he was very attached to the film. Director Roach acknowledged the fact that President Johnson’s fight is still relevant to today’s issues.
“All of the things we’re still arguing about in 2016 started in 2014. He had so many things working against him at the time,” Roach said.
Opening The World to LBJ’s World
Pulitzer Prize Winner Robert Schenkkan wanted to show the world who President Lyndon B. Johnson was. In an interview with LA Review of Books, he said that the former president was all about politics.
He lived and breathed politics 24-7. The greatest legislative minds of the time were his mentors, and very consciously his mentors. He would come into a situation and immediately gravitate toward the alpha male and do whatever it took to get in his good graces and then just absorb everything.
Schenkkan also said that LBJ was the type of man who can easily retain information about the “players in his head.” He was a compassionate man, but at the same time he is an uncanny enemy.
Schenkkan also said that the exploration of morality in politics can be one of the most daunting tasks in creating LBJ’s film adaptation.
I’m very interested in this subject, and I think looking at Johnson is a great way to explore that. What I’ve tried to do in the play is to focus on individuals close to and around Johnson, both allies and adversaries — sometimes one, sometimes the other, and sometimes both — who can also then reflect to the audience yet another aspect of this whole issue of ends and means and the morality of power.
Schenkkan also opens the conversation about the theory of revolution and reform in the film All The Way.
“The big question about history is whether we have already so destroyed the environment that we have rendered history moot. Have we set in motion forces which can no longer be contained, which will lead to an environmental catastrophe?”
Schenkkan has worked with the great Steven Spielberg on the film, and it will air on May 21 at 8 p.m. EST on HBO.
Watch the first trailer below:
[Image credit: Matt Sayles/Invision for AARP/AP Images]