‘Killing Kennedy’: Film Displays the Need for Speed

'Killing Kennedy': Film Displays the Need

Production adapts to 18-day shoot

Sometimes, immediacy is the mother of invention.

That certainly seems to have been the case for “Killing Kennedy,” the adaptation of the Bill O’Reilly-Martin Dugard bestseller that is premiering Nov. 10 on the National Geographic Channel.

At the film’s Saban Theatre premiere celebration Monday, a common touchstone was the film’s 18-day shoot, a sprint through the layers of circumstances that brought John F. Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald to their fateful intersection, 50 years ago this month.

“On the first day, I think I did the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis and interns in the pool,” said Rob Lowe, who played JFK. “The first day would have been four weeks in a Bob Zemeckis movie.”

Jack Nosewothy (pictured above, with co-stars Will Rothhaar and Michelle Trachtenberg and director Nelson McCormick) played Bobby Kennedy and said the emotional wreckage of hearing his onscreen brother had been shot came on his very first shot of his very first day.

“We did it in three takes, and I think they used the first,” said Noseworthy, who added that he learned that scene would be his starting point the morning before.

Of the 18 days, the first eight were spent on the Kennedy scenes and then the final 10 centered on Lee Harvey Oswald, according to the man who played him, Will Rothhaar. Doing 13 scenes in a day’s work wasn’t unusual, he said.

With Virginia the location for the film’s entire production, including the re-creation of Minsk, where Oswald met his wife Marina (Trachtenberg), fast adjustments were par for the course. Rothhaar portrayed the American expatriate, layered in clothes and shivering, while it was “94 degrees outside with 100% humidity.”

The actor added that his goal was to find the third dimension in Oswald.

“Talking to my dad one night in Richmond, I just was reflecting how grateful I was raised in a home where love was never spared,” Rothhaar said, “and I started thinking about Oswald’s upbringing. Once I realized he never had that growing up, I felt this overwhelming sense of sadness. I got him. … Instead of looking at his eyes, I was looking through them.”

Calling it “a global television event on an indie film budget,” NGC prexy Howard T. Owens introduced the film – and Lowe – with great enthusiasm.

“We are evolving into a network that makes huge, culturally relevant television,” Owens said.

“The easiest decision we had was deciding who we wanted to play Kennedy,” he added. “I sat staring at Rob, my man crush in full bloom, calculating how we were going to get Rob to play this role. When Rob agreed to play JFK, he elevated the status of this network.”

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  1. MargieRose says:

    I first heard Rob Lowe was playing J.F.K. he would portrayal would capture our beloved President. Can’t wait to see it!

  2. david t. krall says:

    from: david t. krall
    email: truthatlarge@hotmail.com

    The title “Killing Kennedy” sure says it all…no matter how many lies it takes, no matter how many years
    nothing could be worse than distorting and masking the true reasons why a person is killed, especially
    a President of the United States, so I guess “Killing Kennedy” is really the perfect title as perpetuating
    a fraud is, in a way making it happen again !!! After showing sheer ego, I’m surprised how Mr. Reilly got a “free pass” on how he became inspired to write “Killing Jesus”…Well, at least he pointed to
    “back room machinations” that took part and got THAT right…I expect though, he hit a home run
    on the next one or two, and write how a lone Native American at little Big Horn killed Gen. Custer,
    and explain the “single arrow theory, and/or how a lone nut killed Julius Caesar and ushered in the
    “single dagger theory”, or maybe even show how a lone pilot attacked Pearl Harbor…I’m sure he won’t
    disappoint his publishers and marketing sponsors…so much for the truth….and that’s not an accident
    nor a coincidence…

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