Deadline reports that former President Bill Pullman has joined the cast of Rob Reiner’s upcoming political drama, LBJ. Pullman will be playing liberal Democrat Sen. Ralph Yarborough. This announcement follows last week’s news that Richard Jenkins had been cast as the decidedly less-progressive Sen. Richard Russell. Together, Pullman and Jenkins should help form part of the ideological obstacle course that Woody Harrelson will have to negotiate as Lyndon Johnson, who helped change the political landscape with the passage of the Civil Rights Act.
Russell, a conservative southern democrat, had long supported Johnson, helping him rise to Senate Majority Leader. Their political alliance and friendship would eventually end as President Johnson used his office to push through Kennedy’s Civil Rights Act of 1964. The move alienated Russell and a large number of southern segregationists who eventually fled the Democratic party. In contrast, Yarborough and Johnson rarely saw eye to eye, but the Texas senator was one of the few southern legislators to back the Civil Rights Act; despite winning reelection, his support for the bill was the beginning of his political decline.
LBJ begins shooting on location in New Orleans, Dallas, and Washington, D.C. this September. That should allow enough time for the film to be released during this presidential cycle, helpfully reminding us that backwards ideologue jagoffs aren’t simply a new phenomenon.