2016
Bryan Cranston
plays President Lyndon B. Johnson in All The Way, directed by Emmy Award-winning Jay Roach. The stage-to-tv adaptation is produced for HBO by Amblin Television, Tale Told Productions and Moon Shot Entertainment, with Steven Spielberg, Darryl Frank & Justin Falvey, Robert Schenkkan and Bryan Cranston executive producing.

All the Way is based on Robert Schenkkan’s play of the same name and follows Johnson’s ascension to the presidency following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It depicts his efforts to maneuver members of the 88th United States Congress to enact, and civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King, Jr. to support, the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Anthony Mackie co-stars as Martin Luther King Jr. Also starring are Melissa Leo as Lady Bird Johnson and Bradley Whitford as Hubert Humphrey.

For his portrayal of Lyndon B. Johnson, Bryan Cranston has won a Tony Award in 2014. He has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in Trumbo (2015) which was also directed by Jay Roach. Cranston is best-known for his roles as “Walter White” on the AMC drama series, Breaking Bad (2008), for which he has won four consecutive Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Emmy Awards.

According to Variety, Cranston didn’t hesitate when the offer to adapt All the Way came in from HBO because the lesson of the play, about the moral and political courage it took Johnson to push forward on the Civil Rights Act in 1964, was so vital: “We could now reach millions more and tell this important story by way of HBO.”

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2012
Ben Affleck
’s Argo follows CIA operative Tony Mendez who is using a phony film project titled “Argo” as disguise for his rescue mission intended to withdraw six U.S. diplomats from Tehran, during the 1979–1981 Iran hostage crisis. “Argo” is named for the Greek mythological ship that Jason and the Argonauts sailed in to retrieve the Golden Fleece.

The film’s story is adapted from Tony Mendez’s book “The Master of Disguise” and Joshuah Bearman’s 2007 Wired article “The Great Escape: How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran.”

Argo is produced by Ben Affleck, Grant Heslov and George Clooney – it stars Ben Affleck, with Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, and John Goodman in supporting roles.

None of the scenes in the film are actually shot in Iran (principal photography takes place in Los Angeles, Virginia, Washington DC, and Istanbul). In order to make the movie feel like the 1970s, Ben Affleck shoots it on regular film, cuts the frames in half, and blows those images up 200% to increase their graininess. He also copies camera movements and bustling office scenes from All the President’s Men (1976) for sequences depicting CIA headquarters. In another nod to the 70s, the Warner Bros logo from that era is displayed at the opening of the film.

Upon its release, Argo receives widespread acclaim, with critics praising the acting, Ben Affleck’s direction, Chris Terrio’s screenplay, William Goldenberg’s editing, and Alexandre Desplat’s score.

Stephen Holden of The New York Times writes: “Ben Affleck’s seamless direction catapults him to the forefront of Hollywood filmmakers turning out thoughtful entertainment.”

Argo succeeds at the box office, grossing $232.2 million against a budget of $44.5 million.The film receives seven Academy Awards nominations – winning three, for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing. Asked about his Best Director Academy Award snub, Ben Affleck jokes that he didn’t feel particularly aggrieved as he didn’t get nominated for Best Actor either.

According to Tony Mendez, Studio Six — the bogus Hollywood production office he helped create at the core of the CIA plan — proves so convincing that even weeks after the rescue is complete and the office has folded, 26 scripts are delivered to its address, including one from Steven Spielberg.