Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race,
until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men’s skins,
emancipation will be a proclamation, but not a fact.
— Lyndon B. Johnson
All The Way, a riveting behind-the-scenes look at President Lyndon B. Johnson’s landmark first year in office, premieres on HBO Saturday, May 21st from 8:00-10:15 p.m. ET/PT. Emmy® winner, Bryan Cranston stars as LBJ in a reprise of his Tony Award-winning role. The film is directed by Jay Roach (“Trumbo”; Emmy® winner for HBO’s “Game Change” and “Recount”) from a screenplay by Robert Schenkkan (Pulitzer Prize winner for “The Kentucky Cycle” and Writers Guild Award winner for HBO’s “The Pacific”), who adapted his Tony Award-winning play of the same name for HBO.
Co-starring with Cranston are Anthony Mackie (Martin Luther King, Jr.), Melissa Leo (Lady Bird Johnson), Bradley Whitford (Hubert Humphrey) and Frank Langella (Sen. Richard Russell).
Supporting cast members include Joe Morton (Roy Wilkins), Stephen Root (J. Edgar Hoover), Marque Richardson (Bob Moses), Aisha Hinds (Fanny Lou Hamer), Todd Weeks (Walter Jenkins), Mo McRae (Stokely Carmichael), Hilary Ward (Coretta Scott King) and Spencer Garrett (Walter Reuther).
The film follows LBJ as he stakes his presidency on what would be a historic and unprecedented Civil Rights Act. Johnson finds himself caught between the moral imperative of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the expectations of the southern Democratic Party leaders who brought Johnson to power. As King battles to control the more radical elements of the Civil Rights movement, Johnson navigates the benchmark bill through Congress, wins a landslide victory against Barry Goldwater, and ultimately causes the South to defect from the Democratic Party.
All The Way is produced for HBO by Amblin Television, Tale Told Productions, Moonshot Entertainment and Everyman Pictures, with Steven Spielberg, Robert Schenkkan, Bryan Cranston, Jay Roach, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey (“The Americans”) executive producing, and James Degus (“Sneaky Pete”) co-executive producing.
ABOUT THE STORY
Writer Robert Schenkkan’s interest in LBJ goes much deeper than a playwright’s search for a story. Raised in Texas, Schenkkan’s father knew Johnson when he was a senator and sought his support in creating the first public television and radio station in the Southwest. As a young boy, Schenkkan volunteered at Johnson campaign headquarters with his mother and watched his family celebrate Johnson’s 1964 win over Barry Goldwater.
That year marked a critical moment in U.S. history. Segregation was being rocked by a strong counter-movement of social justice. Change was no longer just a possibility, but a necessity. A large cast of players, who would do battle and set the stage for this social shift, surrounded Johnson, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Bob Moses, Stokely Carmichael, Sen. Hubert Humphrey, Gov. George Wallace, Sen. Richard Russell, J. Edgar Hoover, Sen. Everett Dirksen and Ralph Abernathy. Strong women such as Lady Bird Johnson and Fannie Lou Hamer made their voices heard and helped to change the course of events.
“All the Way” was not just LBJ’s campaign slogan, but also illustrated the do-or-die mentality of all the players on the political arena. To what lengths would they go? What lines – political, legal and moral – were they prepared to cross? And at what cost? Each character in the film wrestles with these questions, and many are surprised by the personal discoveries they make.
“I am pleased that, thanks to HBO, Robert Schenkkan’s Tony Award-winning play will now reach television,” says executive producer Steven Spielberg. “With Jay Roach directing and Bryan Cranston’s brilliant portrayal of LBJ, audiences will be able to share in this larger-than-life president’s role in a crucial turning point in American history.”
Jay Roach was attracted to All The Way for its revealing portrait of LBJ, a man many consider to be one of the great leaders of all time. Roach saw the story as LBJ’s journey from his own private hell to the great arena of power and politics.
“This story is as relevant in 2016 as it was when LBJ was thrust into office in 1963,” says Roach. “Racial inequality and discrimination once again dominate the headlines, and the country looks to political leaders with the power to make significant change. ALL THE WAY reminds us of a leader who stood for the rights of others despite the opposition, and who surrounded himself with extraordinary people who shared his vision and worked to make it a reality.”
All The Way was filmed in Los Angeles on sets designed by Mark Ricker, with costumes designed by Daniel Orlandi, Jim Denault was the director of photography; Carol Littleton was the editor. The striking physical transformations of the actors into their characters were designed and supervised by Bill Corso along with Frank Perez.
If you miss the premiere, All The Way will be shown on the following dates:
May 21 at 12:55 a.m. ET/PT
May 22 at 6:45 p.m. ET/PT
May 24 at 1:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. ET/PT
May 26 at 8:00 p.m. and 1:45 a.m. ET/PT
May 30 at 10:45 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. ET/PT
June 5 at 7:45 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. ET/PT
June 8 at 1:00 p.m. and 12:40 a.m. ET/PT
June 11 at 5:45 p.m. ET/PT
June 14 at 6:45 p.m. ET/PT
All The Way will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO and HBO On Demand.
Read TNWU’s interview with Hilary Ward, who portrays Coretta Scott King in the film, for an inside look at Hilary and her role in the film.