David Mamet’s JFK assassination thriller is taking shape, with Courtney Love, Viggo Mortensen, Shia LaBeouf, Al Pacino and John Travolta joining the cast.
The newly titled “Assassination” (the pic was previously called “2 Days/1963”) will be presented to buyers at the film market in Cannes this week, with Arclight Films handling international sales.
Here’s the official synopsis for the project: “1963. During a crucial justice hearing against organized crime, the head of the Chicago mob orders the assassination of President John F. Kennedy Jr., creating a deadly conspiracy while altering the fate of a nation.”
Directed by Pulitzer Prize winner and Oscar nominee Mamet (“Heist,” “Wag the Dog”), the film is written by Mamet and Nicholas Celozzi, who based the script on his great uncle, the Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana, who may have played a significant role in orchestrating Kennedy’s assassination.
Previous reports about the film have indicated that it will focus on events that took place 48 hours before the assassination, telling the mob’s version of the story. Celozzi based the material on details shared by his late uncle Pepe (Giancana’s brother), who suggested that the mob’s hand in the assassination was payback for the president’s alleged snubbing of Giancana and his campaign against organized crime, despite his reliance on the mob during elections.
Oscar-winning director of photography Robert Elswitt (“There Will Be Blood”), who previously collaborated with Mamet as well as Paul Thomas Anderson, is the film’s cinematographer.
The pic is produced by Corey Large and Celozzi. Executive producers are John Burnham, Arclight Films’ Gary Hamilton and Pia Patatian, Jordan Nott, Bernie Gewissler and Amar Balaggan. 308 Enterprises is financing the project.
Production is scheduled to start in September in Vancouver.
“It’s an honor to be working with all of these legends,” said producer Corey Large.
Arclight Films chairman Gary Hamilton added: “With the undeniable talent of David Mamet at the helm and our stellar cast led by Viggo Mortensen, Al Pacino, Shia LaBeouf and John Travolta, the stars have truly aligned. ‘Assassination’ is a riveting and gripping thriller set in a pivotal period in American history, brilliantly crafted by Mamet – it’s an absolutely fantastic project!”
Arclight Films’ slate includes the comedy “Arthur’s Whisky” starring Diane Keaton, Patricia Hodge and the Scottish singer-actor Lulu, and the Sundance title “Fairyland,” starring Scoot McNairy and Emilia Jones and produced by Sofia Coppola.