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Lee Daniels On The Butler’s Presidents
A director's blow-by-blow on Cusack, Rickman and co

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Liev Schreiber As Lyndon B. Johnson

Completing a mutant one-two in the Oval Office, Liev ‘Sabretooth’ Schreiber was recruited for the part of cuss-mouthed Texan reformer Lyndon Johnson. “What Johnson did more [for civil rights] than any president since Lincoln freed the slaves,” explains Daniels, “and yet he doesn’t get credit for it.” The 36th president was eventually brought down by Vietnam, but Danny Strong’s screenplay focuses on his muscular early days when business was brisk and occasionally, as the film shows, conducted from the loo. Having to play constipated led to some unfortunate on-set side-effects.

Liev Schreiber As Lyndon B. Johnson

“Did Liev go method with the loo scenes? Oh my god! Can you imagine? No, but he almost did go method. There’s a scene you’ll see in the DVD outtakes between him and Martin Luther King, and all he does is drink Pepto Bismol. He drank bottles of Pepto Bismol doing the scene and then the next day he was drinking bottles of prune juice. On the third day there was a lot of farting going on (laughs). He kept saying, ‘Lee, get me out of here!’"

"I think Lyndon Johnson was the president I was most interested in. There’s this irony that he used the ‘n’ word... in the South there’s a very honest, love-hate relationship with African-Americans and white Americans, whereas in the northern states and on the West Coast they’ll smile in your face and gut you behind your back. In the South they’ll call you that to your face and yet there’s a sense of love and kinship. It’s a very complicated relationship."
 

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I thought robin Williams was playing Truman. More

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