The event was part of the Conversations at Harvard series sponsored by the Harvard College Democrats, the Harvard College Black Students Association, Concilio Latino, and the Harvard Business School Entertainment and Media Club. Afterwards, Harrelson hosted a screening of the film at the Brattle Theater.
In “LBJ,” Harrelson plays the titular character, former President Lyndon B. Johnson, as he ascends to the presidency and ultimately passes the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
At the event’s onset, Peter V. Emerson, founder of the Conversations at Harvard series and a Harvard Medical School affiliate, commended Harrelson’s work in the film, even noting that “the president’s daughter said, ‘the man I saw on the screen, is my father.’”
“It’s about the most uplifting, optimistic time in America where you could actually get something done,” Emerson added.
After some brief words from College Democrats Vice President W. Tanner Gildea ’19, Harrelson spent the rest of the evening taking questions from the audience.
Harrelson emphasized that his path to success was not always easy, and he spoke of times where he faced rejection and failure. He urged students to do what they love.
“People are going to try to distract you from your passions, from your dreams, and so I just hope that you don’t let that happen,” Harrelson said.
The conversation eventually turned to Harrelson’s thoughts on President Donald Trump, with whom Harrelson has had dinner,
“It was brutal... to sit there and have to endure the most narcissistic man I have ever met.” Harrelson continued, “I mean, he doesn’t care. He’s like, I’m talking about me and I’m not gonna stop talking about me until the end of the dinner. And then, halfway through it, I had to get up, walk outside and smoke a joint, just because.”
Harrelson also briefly commented on recent sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, calling the film producer a “scumbag” and saying “I don’t think that’s indicative of Hollywood at-large.”
At the end of the talk at Kirkland, Emerson concluded: “Let me suggest that all the guests we’ve had since 2002, including the president of an African country, actors, Olympic gold medal winners, politicians, media, journalists, alike, this is the most honest conversation we’ve ever had.”
“In your case you infuse it with just excitement and the fact that you are so honestly candid and that makes all the difference to me.”
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