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For years, he was television’s most beloved antihero as Breaking Bad’s Walter White. Then he jumped to the big screen as the only meaningful human in Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla. And now, Steven Spielberg may bring the Emmy Award-winning Bryan Cranston back to TV as former President Lyndon Baines Johnson, reprising the role that also turned him into an acclaimed stage thespian. Is there anything this guy can’t do?
Back in September 2013, Cranston took on the role of Johnson for Robert Schenkkan’s biographical drama All the Way, and Spielberg is interested in turning the play into a TV miniseries through his Amblin Entertainment production company. According to Deadline, Spielberg has seen the play several times and wants Cranston to reprise his role as the 36th President; he apparently has friendly relationships with both Cranston and Schenkkan, and I can’t see either of them turning down what seems like a surefire success. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if they decided to change the name from All the Way to All the Awards.
Spielberg has had his hand in all kinds of network ventures, with the upcoming Extant and Under the Dome on CBS, Falling Skies on TNT, and many past projects for ABC, NBC and HBO. Cranston mainly has ties to AMC, which would be a great place for All the Way to go, but I’m betting HBO is where it lands.
All the Way's story opens just after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and it follows Johnson’s first year as president, including his landslide election victory, his civil rights issues and the 1964 Democratic National Convention. The production made the shift to Broadway earlier this year and earned big accolades at last night’s Tony Awards, with Cranston topping the Best Performance category and All the Way winning Best Play. You can hear the actor talking about the role and other things in the video interview below.
All the Way is scheduled to finish out its run at the Neil Simon Theatre on June 29, after which Cranston is set to lead two films. One is documentary great Errol Morris’ darkly comedic thriller Holland, Michigan, and the other will see Cranston become blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo for Jay Roach’s biopic Trumbo, which was picked up by eOne at Cannes last month.
There’s no word on whether or not Schenkkan’s sequel The Great Society will be involved in any way, but I’m pretty sure Spielberg will keep that on the back burner until All the Way becomes a TV hit. Let the network bidding wars begin.