Making its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival tonight is Rob Reiner‘s latest drama, LBJ. The film follows the tumultuous political career of the late President Lyndon B. Johnson, whose failure to secure the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination led to his position as Vice President under John F. Kennedy, a position that changed on that fateful day in November of 1963.
While Bryan Cranston stepped into the shoes of LBJ in the TV movie All the Way earlier this year, Texan-born Woody Harrelson now takes on the role of the very proudly Texan president. As this fantastic first clip shows, Harrelson–and the script–portrays the president as a human being first, rather than a caricature. This short first look at the film is full of humor and personality even when it has nothing at all to do with the politics of the day. If Harrelson gets to deliver a few more anecdotes like this, it’ll be well worth the price of admission.
Check out the first footage of LBJ below:
Here’s the official synopsis for LBJ, followed by the film’s first official image:
After powerful Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson (Woody Harrelson) loses the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination to Senator John F. Kennedy (Jeffrey Donovan), he agrees to be his young rival’s running mate. But one they win the election, despite his extensive legislative experience and shrewd political instincts, Johnson finds himself sidelined in the role of vice president. That all changes on November 22, 1963, when Kennedy is assassinated and Johnson, with his devoted wife Lady Bird (Jennifer Jason Leigh) by his side, is suddenly thrust into the presidency. As the nation mourns, Johnson must contend with long-time adversary Attorney General Bobby Kennedy (Michael Stahl-David) and one-time mentor Georgia Senator Richard Russell (Richard Jenkins) as he seeks to honor JFK’s legacy by championing the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964.