Give up? We don’t blame you. This is a tough one!
Believe it or not, the famous actor portraying the 36th President of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson in the photo above is none other than Walter White himself, Bryan Cranston. We’re not kidding!
After winning a Tony for his Broadway portrayal of Johnson in All The Way, Cranston is set to reprise his role as the former President in an HBO adaptation of the play that will premiere next year. And it looks like the makeup artists for the biopic can prepare their Emmy acceptance speech early. Look at the actor’s insane transformation in the first image revealed:
Cranston spoke about the project recently during the 2016 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, admitting there was a lot of discussion with the producers about how “extensive” they should go with the makeup.
“We decided to go full on and go as close (with the cameras) as we can. Fortunately, my own natural physical makeup is what every man searches for, beady eyes and thin lips,” he joked. “And that’s what I share with LBJ. It was about two hours and 15 minutes every day to get into the makeup. Bill Corso, who designed it and created the makeup, is a genius and a lovely man to work with. And also we had lifts in my shoes and little pieces to pull my ears out a little bit.”
The entire process differed from the stage production, mostly given those aforementioned closeups. On stage, Cranston didn’t have the expertise to pull of the prosthetics. Instead, he had flesh-coloured ear drops he’d attach before painting some grey in his hair and slicking it back.
“It became sort of a Zen experience for me as I was preparing for that performance that night. So I came to really enjoy that moment of taking him on,” he added. “It’s almost like you’re just checking in with the character, just seeking approval of some sort of going, ‘Am I doing you justice?’ Because that’s what we feel most definitively, is a sense of responsibility to the history and the essence of those characters.”
Apparently Cranston doesn’t just look the part. According to director Jay Roach, “Physically and emotionally Bryan completely channels LBJ. We just filmed him and Lady Bird in the Oval Office, after JFK’s assassination. LBJ has arrived as the ‘accidental President.’ He’s almost overwhelmed. In spiritual support, Lady Bird touches his cheek. We melted, like we went back in time and witnessed a private, heart-wrenching moment between these two great people.”
Sounds like Cranston may need to clear some room on his Emmy shelf as well!
All the Way premieres on HBO in 2016.