Bryan Cranston returning to LBJ role in 'All the Way' for HBO

Bryan Cranston returning to LBJ role in 'All the Way' for HBO

Unlike Zoe Caldwell, Ron Leibman and Kathleen Chalfant, actor Bryan Cranston will return to a role he played on the New York stage for a small-screen adaptation by HBO.  

Cranston will step back into his Tony Award-winning role as President Lyndon B. Johnson in the HBO adaptation of the play "All the Way," the cable channel said this week. The movie version of Robert Schenkkan's stage drama is being executive produced by Steven Spielberg.

"All the Way" ran on Broadway this past season at the Neil Simon Theatre, following an engagement at the American Repertory Theater in Massachusetts. The nearly three-hour drama follows Johnson's first months in the Oval Office: the aftermath of the John F. Kennedy assassination, the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War.

The play debuted at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2012 with a cast that included actor Jack Willis as Johnson. 

HBO Films has adapted a few successful stage plays for the small screen, including "Angels in America," "Wit," "Dinner With Friends," "The Normal Heart" and a planned version of "Master Class." In those cases, HBO recast the lead roles with more recognizable stars.

Chalfant starred in Margaret Edson's "Wit" in off-Broadway runs in New York, but for HBO, Emma Thompson took over the role as a dying English professor. For "Angels," the role of Roy Cohn played on Broadway by Leibman became an Emmy-winning turn for Al Pacino.

For "The Normal Heart," the role of Ned Weeks was played by Brad Davis in a Public Theater production in New York. For the recent HBO movie, Mark Ruffalo played the role. (Davis died in 1991.)

Terrence McNally's "Master Class" opened on Broadway with Caldwell playing Maria Callas. (Other actresses who have played Callas in the stage play include Tyne Daly, Patti LuPone and Faye Dunaway.) For HBO, Meryl Streep has landed the plum role.

Twitter: @DavidNgLAT  

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