He’s come a long way from his early TV days on Cheers, building a film career with roles in about 80 movies, including White Men Can’t Jump, the Hunger Games franchise, War for the Planet of the Apes, No Country for Old Men and The Edge of Seventeen. Now Harrelson, 56, portrays a fellow Texan, President Lyndon B. Johnson, in LBJ, in theaters Nov. 3.
Why LBJ, why now? It’s timely. In many ways, he was a great president. Definitely you’d have to overlook getting bogged down in Vietnam.
What was the makeup process like? Everything from the neck up to the forehead was prosthetics—nose, ears, chin, the eyes had brown contacts, and I had a wig on. I worked with Ve Neill, a phenomenal makeup artist, on The Hunger Games, and she really helped me [with LBJ], because the big risk is that it could look fake. [Go to Parade.com/neill for more about the makeup artist’s bag of tricks.]
Give us a hint on your character, Beckett, in next year’s Star Wars film. I’m a criminal and I work with Han.
Are you still kite surfing at home in Hawaii? Yeah, kite and stand-up paddle. I get in the water every day, hanging out with my friends. It’s a pretty gratifying life. It’s a definite life of leisure, but it’s very active. It’s also in one of the most beautiful settings I can imagine.
What did Bryan Cranston tell him about playing LBJ? Go to Parade.com/harrelson to find out.