Woody Harrelson, Rob Reiner Talk Politics and Weinstein at 'LBJ' Premiere

Lucianna Faraone Coccia/FilmMagic
Woody Harrelson

The actor portrays the late Lyndon B. Johnson in the Rob Reiner-directed drama.

Woody Harrelson admits he was somewhat hesitant about playing the late former president Lyndon B. Johnson in the new Rob Reiner-directed drama LBJ.

“It’s hard not to think of Vietnam when you think of Johnson,” Harrelson said Tuesday night during a Bill Maher-moderated panel discussion following the movie's premiere at the ArcLight in Hollywood. “But I love Rob Reiner. I think he’s one of the great directors of all time.”

Maher interjected, “He didn’t pull any Harvey Weinstein stuff on you to get the part, did he? There were no open bathrobes or anything like that, right?”

While the audience laughed, Harrelson shook his head. "You’re unbelievable," he told Maher.

Weinstein was not a topic Harrelson was keen to discuss. When asked on the red carpet if he wanted to weigh in on the scandal surrounding the disgraced film mogul, Harrelson told The Hollywood Reporter, “I don’t want to talk about scumbags right now.”

Reiner, however, welcomed the opportunity to talk Weinstein. “Sexual harassment is not unique to Hollywood,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “We saw it at Fox News. We saw it with Bill Cosby and Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas, so the fact that it is getting a big light shined on it, I think ultimately some good could come out of it. Men are going to have to help because women, whether they’re not believed or they’re blamed for it, you can understand why it takes so long for them to come forward. It’s going to take men to stand up and help.”

Bill Pullman, who plays the late Texas Sen. Ralph Yarborough, added, “I’m really feeling like if you've got to do laundry, let’s get it all out on the line. And it’s a critical mass. Once you get a volume of people stepping forward and being brave and getting it out there, it’s a duty to make sure that it gets registered in the most significant way possible.”

A last-minute addition to the panel was Robert Kennedy Jr., whose late father is played in the movie by Narcos’ Michael Stahl-David. Shut Eye star Jeffrey Donovan plays JFK.

“There have been dozens of shows that have portrayed my father and my uncle. … Usually it’s one-dimensional and doesn’t really capture them,” Kennedy Jr. said when Reiner asked him what he thought of his film. “I think all the actors here all did a great job.”

Reiner beamed, “We’ll take that.”

After the panel discussion, guests headed to Le Jardin across the street from the ArcLight for a party that featured a two-man band, a pizza station and a selection of desserts that included kitschy Rice Krispies treats on a stick imprinted with "LBJ."

“I’m so grateful to be associated with this and with a filmmaker like Rob Reiner,” Electric Entertainment CEO Dean Devlin told The Hollywood Reporter. “He’s my hero. When you think of his great films, LBJ is up there with his great films. The fact that this gets to be our first major release at Electric, it’s an amazing gift. I really can’t believe it. I’m still kind of in awe.”

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