You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

PopPolitics: Noah Oppenheim on the Limits of Dramatic License in ‘Jackie’ (Listen)

Noah Oppenheim, the screenwriter of “Jackie,” says that even though the movie uses dramatic license for the sake of the emotional portrait of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, they have not done anything that is “counter factual — that we know for a fact didn’t happen or sort of muddles the record.”

Oppenheim is a journalist — he is the executive in charge of NBC’s “Today” — but he wrote the screenplay six years ago, before he had that job.

“We are not making a documentary; we are making a dramatic film,” he tells Variety’s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM. “That is part of our job, to use our creativity to fill in blanks in the historic record and give people an emotional insight into the characters and the events. If you want just the facts and the chronology, there are much better genres than dramatic film to convey those things.”

He adds, “I also think there is a responsibility on some level. There is also probably some disagreement within the filmmaking community on what that responsibility is. For me as a journalist I think we should try not to mislead people about the events and people in our history. There is a line in the film where Jackie says to the priest (played by John Hurt), ‘The characters we read about on the page are often more real than the men who stand beside us.’ And I wouldn’t want to be involved in something that misled people about that history.”

The personal, cathartic nature of “Jackie” is what separates it from other movie portrayals of her. It largely focuses on the events surrounding John F. Kennedy’s assassination, when she at once was dealing with grief and trauma but also planning her husband’s funeral and burnishing his legacy.

Several scenes show Jackie (played by Natalie Portman) having conversations with a priest about the reasons for the tragic events, the purpose of life and faith, and the role of God. It was actually based on letters that Jacqueline Kennedy exchanged with priests during the months and year following the assassination, Oppenheim says.

Listen below:

Oppenheim talks about why the movie strikes a chord with audiences today.

“I think people are drawn to the fact that we are depicting a woman of extraordinary strength, who in the midst of a really dark time in our country’s history, through her strength, through her dignity, through the choices that she made, was able to unite the country, really unite the world and help it heal.”

Listen below:

Donald and Kanye

Nikki Schwab of Daily Mail and Hunter Schwarz of IJ Review talk about Donald Trump’s meeting with Kanye West and try to answer the question, for what purpose was it?

Listen below:

“PopPolitics,” hosted by Ted Johnson, airs Thursdays at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS. It also is available on demand.

More Film

  • Wonderstruck

    ‘Wonderstruck’ Colorist Joe Gawler on How Film's Multi-Period Look Was Created

    Noah Oppenheim, the screenwriter of “Jackie,” says that even though the movie uses dramatic license for the sake of the emotional portrait of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, they have not done anything that is “counter factual — that we know for a fact didn’t happen or sort of muddles the record.” Oppenheim is a journalist […]

  • Sarah Jones

    ICG President Steven Poster Pushes On-Set Safety, Slams Government’s Anti-Union Stance

    Noah Oppenheim, the screenwriter of “Jackie,” says that even though the movie uses dramatic license for the sake of the emotional portrait of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, they have not done anything that is “counter factual — that we know for a fact didn’t happen or sort of muddles the record.” Oppenheim is a journalist […]

  • Isle of Dogs

    Production Designer Adam Stockhausen on Building Wes Anderson's Worlds

    Noah Oppenheim, the screenwriter of “Jackie,” says that even though the movie uses dramatic license for the sake of the emotional portrait of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, they have not done anything that is “counter factual — that we know for a fact didn’t happen or sort of muddles the record.” Oppenheim is a journalist […]

  • On Body and Soul Hungarian Movie

    Hungary's 'On Body and Soul' Wins Top Award at Camerimage Film Festival

    Noah Oppenheim, the screenwriter of “Jackie,” says that even though the movie uses dramatic license for the sake of the emotional portrait of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, they have not done anything that is “counter factual — that we know for a fact didn’t happen or sort of muddles the record.” Oppenheim is a journalist […]

  • 'Incredibles 2' Gets First Teaser Trailer

    'Incredibles 2' Gets First Teaser Trailer From Disney-Pixar

    Noah Oppenheim, the screenwriter of “Jackie,” says that even though the movie uses dramatic license for the sake of the emotional portrait of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, they have not done anything that is “counter factual — that we know for a fact didn’t happen or sort of muddles the record.” Oppenheim is a journalist […]

  • John Bailey Academy President

    Academy President John Bailey on Extending Oscars' Global Reach

    Noah Oppenheim, the screenwriter of “Jackie,” says that even though the movie uses dramatic license for the sake of the emotional portrait of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, they have not done anything that is “counter factual — that we know for a fact didn’t happen or sort of muddles the record.” Oppenheim is a journalist […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content