Richard Jenkins, who was just nominated for an Emmy for his role in Olive Kitteridge, has signed on to portray Senator Richard Russell in LBJ, the movie about LBJ’s ascension to become the 36th President of the United States. Rob Reiner is helming the project with Woody Harrelson portraying Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Jenkins will play legendary southern senator Richard Russell, who took Johnson under his wing when he was elected to the senate but would ultimately face off against him on the issue of civil rights. Filming will begin in September in New Orleans, La., Dallas, Texas and Washington, D.C.
The 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 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.
LBJ is being produced by Acacia Entertainment, Savvy Media Holdings, Castle Rock Entertainment, and Star Thrower Entertainment. Matthew George is producing the film alongside Reiner, Liz Glotzer, Michael R. Williams, Tim White and Trevor White.
Jenkins, who was also nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his turn in The Visitor, also recently joined the ensemble cast of Berlin Station, the 10-episode contemporary spy tale that marks Epix’s first drama series. In that, he portrays a veteran of the Cold War who serves as the CIA’s Chief of the Berlin Station. It’s the first series for Jenkins since playing the deceased patriarch of the Fisher family on HBO’s Six Feet Under.
LBJ is being financed by Acacia Entertainment, Savvy Media Holdings, Tadross Media Group, Parkside Pictures and ITS Capital. Executive producers include Martin Shafer, Elizabeth A. Bell, Danny Roth, Allan Mandelbaum, Damiano Tucci, Michael Tadross Jr., Chris Conover and Julie May. Sales are being handled by Voltage Pictures (international) and Creative Artists Agency (North American).
The deal for Jenkins was negotiated by The Gersh Agency, who represents the thesp along with his manager Bill Treusch.