Anthony Mackie as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in HBO's "All The Way"

Anthony Mackie as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in HBO’s “All The Way”

*HBO today released the first trailer for “All the Way,” the Steven Spielberg produced film about Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency following the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Based on the play of the same name, the film begins amid the civil rights battles of the 1960s and includes Johnson’s work with prominent activists in the movement, including Bob Moses, Stokely Carmichael, Fannie Lou Hamer, David Dennis, and of course, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., played in the film by Anthony Mackie.

“They found ways to work together. I think they very much depended on each other. They also didn’t always agree. In fact, that’s a big part of our story,” director Jay Roach said of Johnson and King, speaking to the TCA in January. “They didn’t agree to some extent at certain points. But it’s the story of how people can join together and accomplish great things once they realize that they share a common love of America, a common love of freedom and justice, and Johnson and King and all the civil rights leaders accomplished an astonishing amount in that year, 1964.”

Bryan Cranston as LBJ in HBO's "All The Way"

Bryan Cranston as LBJ in HBO’s “All The Way”

Aside from numerous appointments of African Americans, including the first black Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, President Johnson – with input from Dr. King – also passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Added executive producer Robert Schenkkan of Johnson: “I think he also was very clear in his own mind that simply passing a law would not change everything, that that was the beginning and that there was so much more work to be done. He famously said, ‘You do not take a man who has lived in chains, strike his chains off and lead him up to the starting gate and say “Have a good race.”’ That’s just not fair. So he felt very strongly that as much work as he and Dr. King and Bob Moses and Fannie Lou Hamer and all those amazing people were able to accomplish, that it was just the beginning and that there was a lot more work to be done, as we can see that is, indeed, the case.”

HBO premieres May 21 at 8 p.m. on HBO. Watch the first trailer below:

Below, Mackie explains why he’s turned down several opportunities to play Dr. King in the past: