Steven Spielberg’s Lyndon B. Johnson Project with Bryan Cranston May Be an HBO Movie

By June 17, 2014

Just over one week ago, we learned that Steven Spielberg was hooking up with Bryan Cranston to revive his Tony award-winning performance as President Lyndon B. Johnson in All the Way for a miniseries. Now there’s some new information available.

At the time of the initial report, it wasn’t specified where the miniseries was being developed, but the best guess was HBO, since Spielberg already found success there with both “The Pacific” and “Band of Brothers.” Now there seems to be confirmation of the cable network home as Vulture caught up with Cranston and asked him about the project. He said:

I don’t know if it’s a miniseries as much as an HBO movie. They want to see and honor the story, and so if it needs to be maybe four hours then it might be a two-hour and two-hour kind of thing.

Now Cranston’s wording just might be due to his perception of the material. Perhaps he doesn’t view a two-part adaptation of the play as a miniseries, but that doesn’t mean HBO won’t call it that when all is said and done. Usually miniseries are more than two parts though, so this could just in fact end up being a long TV movie as Cranston indicated. That will be up to the cable network to decide.

Bryan Cranston - All the Way

Cranston also revealed that the adaptation will only focus on All the Way, and will not bring the events of the follow-up Lyndon B. Johnson play, The Great Society (which premieres this summer), into the fray. For those not familiar with All The Way, it follows Johnson’s life shortly after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, spanning the first year of his presidency from being sworn in after the national tragedy to leveraging his power to pass historic Civil Rights legislation in Congress and coming out on top in a landslide re-election victory.

Playwright Robert Schenkkan is busy right now adapting All the Way for television, but it’s not clear how soon HBO wants to get started on production. We’re also a little hazy about whether Spielberg wants to direct this or just produce it, but considering he just lined up two directorial efforts that will keep him busy until 2016, we’re guessing this will be one of many projects that he peeks in on while he’s behind the camera elsewhere. Either way, when the project comes together, it’s likely Cranston will be able to round-up another Emmy nomination to go along with his “Breaking Bad” accolades.

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Ethan Anderton
Some of his favorite films include Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, while his favorite TV series include LOST, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live.