Drama Follows Frantic Aftermath of JFK’s Death
U.S. Release Date: 10/3/13
Director Peter Landesman says some people believe they are “know-alls” when it comes to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy – which occurred in Dallas, Texas on October 23, 1963 – but the filmmaker is pretty sure that no one knows the story that unfolds in his new docudrama Parkland.
“To experience this film is to experience the assassination for the first time through the eyes of the ordinary people who lived it, people we didn’t even know existed, but who played important roles from front-row seats to a true American tragedy.”
That said, the film is a melting pot for a host of every Joes suddenly thrust horrific and traumatic circumstances.
They include the doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital, where Kennedy was taken immediately after the shooting. There is also Abraham Zapruder who shot more than twenty seconds of 8 mm film that recorded the shooting, the FBI agents who nearly caight Lee Harvey Oswalds, Kenmedy’s accused assassin and JFK’s security team that witnessed their president’s death.
Also written by Landesman, who adapted the storylune from Vincent Bugliosi’s book Four Days in November, Parkland stars Paul Giamatti as Zapruda, Jacki Weaver as Oswald’s mother, Marica Gay Harden as an ER nurse, Colin Hanks as the doctor in charge and Billy Bob Thornton as a special agent.
“I looked at the script and asked myself what the engine of the story was,” says Landesman. “What had no-one ever seen before? No one had ever seen what happened inside Parkland Hospital. With that, the rest fell into place.”
The film was born during a conversation at a baseball game between between Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Gary Goetzman, who all serve as producers on the film. Shortly thereafter Paxton found a copy of Bugliosi’s book at an airport bookstore and wanted to tell the story from a personal point of view.
Landesman, who was already at work on a feature script about the Watergate scandal, seemed the perfect directorial choice for the producers. He embarked on a period of intense research, conducting interviews with those directly affected by the assassination, and eventually banged out a draft that thrilled everyone.
“I began developing the script from Vince Bugliosi’s majestic book,” he says. “But I also went looking for people who had never spoken before. When I was a journalist, I learned that the only people I really wanted to speak with were those who didn’t want to speak to me. They are the ones who have the untouched truth. People who are eager to talk usually have an agenda.”
Parkland will be released just prior to the fiftieth anniversary of JFK’s assassination, but the filmmaker insists his film is not about the president’s murder. Instead, he says, the story zeros in on its aftermath and is really about the test of dignity, strength and grace.
“Heroism doesn’t happen when Superman rips off his clothes. Real heroism is when people who are not being watched do the right thing under impossible circumstances.”
Studio: Universal Pictures
Writer / Director: Peter Landesman
Stars: James Badge Dale, Mark Duplass, Zac Ephron, Jackie Earle Hayley, Colin Hanks, David Harbour, Marcia Gay Harden, Ron Livingston, Austin Nichols, Jeremy Strong, Bill Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver, Paul Giamatti and Tom Welling
Producers: Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman, Bill Paxton, Nigel Sinclair and Matt Jackson
Source: Press Notes
Image Info: Copyright Universal Pictures 2013. All Rights Reserved