Becoming Booth

Before the tragic event that took place on April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth was famous for one thing only — his acting. After the assassination of President Lincoln at Fords Theater, his name is still associated with the stage, but for obviously different reasons. However dark his actions undoubtedly were, there is much more complexity to the story, and to the man who prided himself in reason.

Jesse Johnson, playing the role of Booth, discusses how he began to uncover the depths of his character. Growing up in a family of thespians, John Wilkes Booth was surrounded by dramatists and tragedians. Eloquent in speech and movement, Booth’s interpretation of reality was dramatic, which was evident in the theatrics of the assassination of President Lincoln.

 In this next clip, see Johnson bring his interpretation of John Wilkes Booth to life as he likens himself to Brutus rising up to assassinate Caesar.

This is the most dramatic and resonant crime in American history: the true story of the killing of Abraham Lincoln. From Executive Producers Ridley Scottand Tony Scott, and narrated by Tom Hanks, National Geographic Channel’s first original docudrama, Killing Lincoln, based on the New York Times bestseller, combines re-creations with historical insight in a thrilling chronicle of the final days of President Lincoln and his assassin, John Wilkes Booth.

Don’t miss Killing Lincoln this Sunday at 8P et/pt.


  1. sharon
    February 18, 2013, 12:22 am

    It was interesting to me is that Lincoln had this dream that he was going to die. I suspect that is why he took is wife out and had a good time. I think he knew he was going to die. And just decided to see If it would come true. And of course it did. It was a great program. As the bible says “Live by the sword, die by the sword, and all who had a hand in this killing did.
    I can Lincoln wife was really torn up by it too. I am surprised she live so long after. Lincoln was a great man.