Jennifer Jason Leigh, who next will be seen in Quentin Tarantino’s Western The Hateful Eight this year, has just been cast as Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of the 36th President of the United States, in the Rob Reiner-directed film LBJ. Leigh will join Woody Harrelson, who already has signed on to portray Lyndon Baines Johnson as he ascends to presidency. Filming slated to begin in late September in New Orleans, Dallas and Washington, D.C.
Lady Bird Johnson was by her husband’s side in Dallas when he was sworn in on Air Force One after John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas. She also witnessed the intense emotional swings that both plagued and propelled her husband throughout his political life. She often was kept in the dark about many elements of her husband’s indiscretions and “colorful” life behind the scenes at the White House and his Air Force One.
Leigh voiced a lead character in Charlie Kaufman’s animated comedy-fantasy Anomalisa — the director’s first stop-motion film which just won the Grand Jury Award in Venice. The film, about a guy who works in a boring customer-service job and thinks that everyone in the world is the same, also stars David Thewlis and Tom Noonan. The critically praised picture was partially financed through Kickstarter.
The LBJ script by Joey Hartstone, a 2014 Black List winner, centers on the political upheaval that Vice President Johnson faced when he was thrust into the presidency and then struggled to heal a nation, deal with the Vietnam War and secure his presidency by passing Kennedy’s historic Civil Rights Act.
LBJ is being financed by Acacia Entertainment, Savvy Media Holdings, Tadross Media Group, Parkside Pictures and ITS Capital. Castle Rock Entertainment, and Star Thrower Entertainment are producing — Matthew George alongside Reiner, Liz Glotzer, Michael R. Williams, Tim White and Trevor White. Executive producers include Martin Shafer, Elizabeth A. Bell, Danny Roth, Damiano Tucci, Michael Tadross Jr., Allan Mandelbaum, Chris Conover and Julie May.
Sales are being handled by Voltage Pictures (international) and CAA (North America). CAA reps Leigh along with Untitled Entertainment and Sloane Offer Weber and Dern.