Woody Harrelson was just cast as Lyndon B. Johnson in Rob Reiner’s upcoming movie, LBJ. This is all well and good, and I’m sure Woody will do an excellent job, as he has with most of his recent roles. (Matthew McConaughey got all the press for True Detective because he got all the big, deep, cuckoo monologues and such, but Woody as the straight man is what held things together.) The Hollywood Reporter has the details on the film.
Written by Joey Hartstone, the drama chronicles the Southern politician’s rise to become the 36th President of the United States. Filming is slated to begin in September in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Dallas and Washington. LBJ centers on 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.
Yes, fine, wonderful. Johnson was a brilliant politician in a lot of ways, and the work he did following the JFK assassination to get the Civil Rights Act passed was pretty incredible. And everyone is doing LBJ projects these days, from Robert Caro and his four-volume-30-year-and-counting biography to Bryan Cranston in the HBO movie (and Broadway play) All the Way, so why not let Woody and Reiner in on the fun, right? I just have one request: if we’re going do this, let’s really do this by including the following two scenes.
1. LBJ giving scotch-fueled tours of his Texas ranch in his Lincoln convertible. His special assistant, Joseph A. Califano, Jr., explains.
In the early afternoon, the President, with me next to him in the front seat, took his white Lincoln convertible, top down, for a drive around the ranch. It was incredibly hot; the dust clouds made it hard to breathe. But there was relief. As we drove around we were followed by a car and a station wagon with Secret Service agents. The President drank Cutty Sark scotch and soda out of a large white plastic foam cup. Periodically, Johnson would slow down and hold his left arm outside the car, shaking the cup and ice. A Secret Service agent would run up to the car, take the cup and go back to the station wagon. There another agent would refill it with ice, scotch, and soda as the first agent trotted behind the wagon. Then the first agent would run the refilled cup up to LBJ’s outstretched and waiting hand, as the President’s car moved slowly along.
2. LBJ calling up Joe Haggar of Haggar Pants with some, uh, very specific requests for his slacks.
LBJ: Now the pockets, when you sit down, everything falls out, your money, your knife, everything, so I need at least another inch in the pockets. And another thing – the crotch, down where your nuts hang – is always a little too tight, so when you make them up, give me an inch that I can let out there, uh because they cut me, it’s just like riding a wire fence. These are almost, these are the best I’ve had anywhere in the United States,
LBJ: But, uh when I gain a little weight they cut me under there. So, leave me , you never do have much of margin there. See if you can’t leave me an inch from where the zipper (burps) ends, round, under my, back to my bunghole, so I can let it out there if I need to.
I can’t stress this enough. This entire call must be in the movie. It’s important to be historically accurate.