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Bryan Cranston Goes All the Way to Portray Lyndon Johnson

All the Way started out as a play commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2012. Two years later the play was on Broadway with Bryan Cranston taking over the character of president Lyndon Johnson (created originally by Jack Willis) and winning a Tony Award for it. Now the drama about LBJ’s fight to pass the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964 – a project of his predecessor, the slain John F. Kennedy, that this ex-vice-president took to heart – has been turned into an HBO film, directed by Jay Roach (the go-to guy for political dramas, comedies and all the stops in between) and starring Cranston as LBJ, Melissa Leo as First Lady Lady Bird Johnson and Anthony Mackie as Martin Luther King. Jr. The HFPA’s Gabriel Lerman talked to Cranston about the emotional depth and strong physicality of the character – and got a philosophical mediation on the uncertain lives of actors.