Six Seconds That Changed America Forever: Killing Kennedy Premieres Tonight

It’s 1959. Two men face major turning points in their lives: one is in Washington, D.C., preparing to announce his presidential candidacy, while the other is at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, renouncing his American citizenship. Two seemingly unrelated occurrences, starting both on a cataclysmic track that would alter the course of history. National Geographic Channel’s Killing Kennedy, produced by Scott Free Productions and based on the best-selling book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, chronicles this buildup to one of America’s most shocking events: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Starring Rob Lowe (President John F. Kennedy) and Will Rothhaar (Lee Harvey Oswald), with Michelle Trachtenberg (Marina Oswald) and Ginnifer Goodwin (Jacqueline Kennedy), the film charts the highs and lows of two men and two relationships that would eventually intersect with two shocking deaths that stunned a nation.

The historical details of what happened on the day of Kennedy’s assassination, and the shocking days that followed, are well known to millions. Now, Killing Kennedy will take audiences deeper inside the story than ever before by examining the events that led both men to Dallas on that fateful day in November 1963, and by offering a rare and human look at the people at the center of it all.

“JFK was so much more than I think people realize,” says Lowe. “My goal was to play a husband, a father, a brother, a man with a big job who loved and was funny, and smart, and charming, and flawed, and inspired.”

Added Goodwin, “The intimacy and revealing nature of this film, and the captivating narrative, really inspired me.”

Lee Harvey Oswald remains one of American history’s most infamous figures, but one few know much about. Killing Kennedy will reveal Oswald as more than just a two-dimensional villain, but as a troubled man who wanted nothing more than for someone to take notice of him — a wish he saw granted for fewer than 48 hours before meeting his own spectacular and untimely demise.

“The Oswald story is something no one has really told before,” says Rothhaar. “I think there are a lot of things about Lee that people are going to be surprised by, or even relate to, in this movie.”

“Many people aren’t even aware Lee had a wife,” says Trachtenberg, who speaks entirely in Russian in the film. “The film’s illumination of Marina and their marriage helps reveal Lee as more than just a monster.”

Killing Kennedy pits John F. Kennedy (Lowe) and Lee Harvey Oswald (Rothhaar) as the polar opposites they were, charting their respective paths toward their infamous mutual date with destiny. While the aristocratic Kennedy ascends to the world’s ultimate seat of power, Oswald seeks his own place in the world by looking to make a name for himself as a former U.S. Marine defecting to Russia. His delusions of grandeur are soon replaced by the harsh and cold realities of factory work in the remote and unforgiving Minsk winter, and he returns to the United States with his new Russian wife, Marina (Trachtenberg). Settling in Texas, the Oswalds start a family and Lee finds a Communist cause much closer to home in the geopolitically charged hotbed that is Cuba at the dawn of the 1960s.

Like Oswald, President Kennedy’s attention, and a major part of his legacy, would also be focused on the small Caribbean island just off the Florida coast — home to arguably his greatest failure and his crowning achievement. From the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion to the steely resolve that helped pull the world back from the brink of nuclear war in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Killing Kennedy will provide a look inside the key political moments that helped forge the president into the leader he was. At the same time, the film looks behind the curtain of the Kennedy legend to reveal the man himself, with glimpses at intimate moments including the devastating loss of infant son Patrick, his remarkable relationship and collaboration with his brother and Attorney General Bobby Kennedy (Noseworthy), his widely-reported infidelities, and the enduringly fascinating and complicated love he shared with his wife Jackie (Goodwin).

As the Kennedy mystique grows, Oswald fades further and further from relevance, trying and failing to follow his ideological heart to Cuba and growing increasingly agitated at the government’s treatment of the situation there. His membership in pro-Cuba organizations draws the attention of the FBI, whose agents ultimately dismiss him as harmless. Meanwhile, his volatile temper is costing him jobs and much more, as Marina and their two young children seek part-time refuge in the home of a friend. Oswald’s desperation grows and escalates to violence in the form of another assassination attempt — a precursor to the plan that would ultimately ensure that the world would finally know his name.

On Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, Oswald rides to his job at the Texas Schoolbook Depository with a co-worker. He carries a long brown paper bag that he says carries curtain rods. Across town, Secret Service and local authorities are making final preparations for a parade though a city that seems increasingly hostile toward the president.

At 12:30 p.m., shots ring out. And while one man earns his elusive and ill-gotten glory, a nation loses its leader and its innocence. Later that evening, the world would get its first look at Lee Harvey Oswald; less than 48 hours later it would get its last, as Oswald’s own assassination is broadcast live to a grieving nation.

“JFK represented so much not just to me, but to all of us,” Lowe said. “And to be able to embody his story as part of this amazing project on the 50th anniversary of his death was an exciting, humbling, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Killing Kennedy will premiere in 171 countries and in 38 languages to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination.

Don’t miss the global television event this Sunday, November 10 at 8P.

Comments

  1. David
    United States
    November 10, 2013, 11:37 am

    I think the name for this “Killing Kennedy” is horrible.
    Maybe you’ll understand why I feel this way after you finish reading……

    I’ve never sat down and put on paper what I experienced that day in November that was about a week before Thanksgiving Day.

    I was 11 years old and in 5th grade at Harry C. Withers Elementary school on Northaven Rd. in North Dallas.
    Today was special, President Kennedy and First Lady Jackie were going to be in a motorcade going though downtown.
    We filled up the projection room and they rolled in the TV so we could watch the President Kennedy and First Lady Jackie drive though town.
    About 5 or 6 cars back from the presidents car was a van that had a camera in it. As we watched the procession in front of us the Presidents car turned right onto Elm St and went out of site. A couple of seconds later I heard what sounded like three shots about a second apart, a two pause then one shot and then another shot. A total of 5 shots.
    At that time the camera in the van tilted down and I could hear a loud commotion in the background. Things were a little crazy after that but the school kept the TV on and we kept watching.
    The news came on and I remember Walter Cronkite eventually telling us that the President had been shot and killed.
    The horror of this simply stunned all of us.
    The school turned off the TV and asked all of us to go back to our class rooms.
    Once everyone was back in class the Principal announced to all of us what had happened and that school was dismissed and that we should all go home for the day.
    I’ll never forget how somber everyone was as we left school and walked home.
    The only other day that even compares is the day the Towers fell. Sept. 11, 2001.
    When I got home we watched the news and watched as they loaded the presidents casket on board his jet to return him to Washington.
    We watched as Vice President Johnson was sworn in on the airplane alongside a grief striken First Lady Jackie and a smirking smiling Lady Bird. I’ll never forget that smile that Lady Bird had on her face. It didn’t last for but a moment but I can see it plain as day 50 years later.
    In the following days Oswald was caught, then shot by Jack Ruby.
    The news stations called Dallas “the city of hate”.
    Little John John saluted his fathers coffin.
    President Kennedy was dead.
    President Johnson escalated the war in Vietnam instead of pulling out like Kennedy wanted to do.
    I felt like my childhood was over to a certain extent.
    Politians were not always what they should be……

    David Crisford
    Fort Worth, TX.

  2. Frank
    NY
    November 10, 2013, 7:33 pm

    Can you please not place ads for Papa Jon’s on the screen during the actual program for the Kennedys or any other program. I pay for cable and watch the commercials but having an ad display during the program cheapens your channel.

    Thanks

  3. Terry Pfeffer
    Sour Lake Texas
    November 10, 2013, 9:16 pm

    Although the book was very good, the movie is not. I liked how Killing Lincoln was done. Tom Hanks narrating the movie made it so it was very easy to follow. This movie jumps all over the place, while not explaining what is going on. It is not very good at holding my interest. The book was much better. If you did not study the history of who Oswald was and what Kennedy did then you would not understand what was going on.

  4. Vincent
    United States
    November 11, 2013, 6:22 am

    Just want to say that I’m disappointed in your company. You say your honoring a great man, but yet you honor him with lies. Reinforcing some story that a single man killed him, a patsy. How about honoring him with the truth, how his own government killed him for profit and personal gain. And how thousands of young men died for the same reason. That would be honoring his memory.

  5. Vito
    November 11, 2013, 6:43 am

    I cant believe Ridley Scott would attach his name to something so bad ! I am 65 years old have followed this story since it happened and have been to Dealy plaza . This “movie ” is by far the worst thing I have ever seen on the subject. They do a disservice to The president and his memory . The casting was horrible . The writing was worse !
    the acting worse than all of it together . Bill what’s his name will stoop to any level to stuff his pockets with money even if it’s on the death of a president ! Stick to your phony news show Bill ! Your book and tv movie are both as lousy as you are a “journalist “

  6. Harold Calahan
    Stockton, Ca
    November 11, 2013, 5:24 pm

    Horrible movie. Lousy cast and lousy acting. Waste of time. I hope other networks take more time attention and care covering this date with accuracy and dignity. This was a soap opera rather than a dignified story with facts. Cast director should be sent packing.

  7. Mary
    Point Pleasant, WV
    November 11, 2013, 9:03 pm

    Is there any way to purchase this as a online download? Or do buy it on DVD? I want to show it to my History Class. Thanks!

  8. Art Nevill
    TH In
    November 11, 2013, 11:32 pm

    What a joke of a movie. didnt even watch it all. Shame on you for trying to brainwash the public the way the government has for all these years Have some guts, and report some truths instead of all the lies that you have…..

  9. aregeejay
    Ohio
    November 12, 2013, 6:07 pm

    I was in the 4th grade when these horrible events happened. I have watched all sorts of “anniversary” specials on the assassination, from PBS, Discovery, History, and now even the NatGeo channels. I did watch the past few days of the various Kennedy programs, especially the live broadcasts. I saw them with my 31 year old daughter who was absolutely fascinated with both the events leading to the assassinations of Kennedy and Oswald, as well as the 1963 newscasting. I saw Oliver Stone’s “version” of JFK….and have no desire to see Rob Lowe’s “version” of JFK. I’ll watch the documentaries, not the Hollywood translations.

  10. Jeremy williams
    Los Angeles, ca
    November 13, 2013, 12:05 pm

    I agree with Art.

    We now know from deathbed confessions of E Howard Hunt, the Nixon tapes and other material at has come to light that there were indeed 3 gunmen that day and that ultimately the blame for the conspiracy and cover up land at the feet of LBJ.

    This was a group of powerful people and operational details were handled by the CIA via Cord Meyer – Bush was in Dallas that day as well,

    If this topic interests you I suggest you do real research – this movie looks interesting, but not as a documentary of truth and more as a continuation of the single bullet fairy tale.

  11. Carlos Gonzalez
    Atlanta GA
    November 15, 2013, 8:27 pm

    Are you kidding? Based on a book by Mr “disinformation” Bill O’Rellly? Well, What can we expect from a network that have programs on Zombies and Sasquatch! Pure garbage! If anyone really wants to know what happen that november 22 fifty years ago, better check the documentaries “The men who killed Kennedy” and the excellent “Evidence of Revision” or check the book “JFK and the unspeakable” by James W. Douglas. Don’t loose your time with this Killing Kennedy by a Fox News anchor

  12. frank j tarantino
    United States
    November 15, 2013, 9:12 pm

    Killing Kennedy was the worst show ever the acting was bad, that’s not even including all the lies. Oswald was found on the second floor after the shooting not the sixth, the package he carried into the tsbd he carried under his arm not down his leg according to the man who drove Oswald to work, plus say he did bring the gun into the building not one person noticed he brought a rifle into the building and stacked up boxes to make a snipers nest.also didn’t anyone notice he wasn’t working for a half the day? In the NG> show before the Killing of Kennedy there was the scene at Tippits shooting were a cop is holding a gun and said this is the gun that killed Tippit but when Oswald was picked up at the show it was said he had a gun and a shot gun were did he get the guns?? The picture of Oswald with the gun newspapers etc. is a fake I made the same pic myself by super imposing my kisser on LH ‘s body. In the ng., show before the movie it was said LH gave secrets to the Russians, and shot at Gen. Walker why wasn’t he arrested ? I f he couldn’t hit someone sitting in a chair how could he hit a moving target at 88 yards through a tree with a cheap rifle.? How come the fbi or secret service didn’t keep in eye on him considering how much info came out about LH within an hour of the shooting and they new he worked at the tsdb?? Also in the show before KK, the newsman kept saying shots were fired from the fifth floor which had a window open. The Chicago Trib dated 11 22 63 said a German Mauser with 3 shots missing was found on the fifth floor, in the series the Men who killed Kennedy, there was a policemen who had found that rifle and later survived a car bombing and harassment until he killed himself. Bill O’Rielly is a liar and a phony beside being a self righteous pimp but he should work on Saturday night live they can use comedy writers. I wonder who had kill Jesus, the Tataglia”s??

  13. Dena
    United States
    November 16, 2013, 3:52 am

    Well seems like most people here making comments are aware of what a farce this movie is. To Mary in WV-Please, please, please don’t fill your students heads with lies! This is what is wrong with our country. We buy all the crap the government feeds us and then we tell our kids it’s true. So disappointed with NGC. Wish you could do shows that tell the truth, but I guess that is really what this country is all about now-lies and nothing but lies. Few people care about truth and justice anymore. Just look at all the Bush administrations running around free as birds after the horrible destruction they have caused. May the good LORD come soon and do away with all of the evil of this world!

  14. Mark
    St. Petersburg, Fl.
    November 16, 2013, 4:40 pm

    I thought they did an excellent job. The Kennedy assassination was my first memory of a historical, (awful as it was) event. I was a week short of my 5th birthday when he was killed. It’s an event I’ve followed with interest since the news of the shooting broke.

    I still wonder about possible conspiracy theories. I wouldn’t rule them out, but from what I’ve seen, I’m leaning toward the lone gunman theory.

    I’m not sure if my opinion is biased because my father was a friend of FBI agent, James Hosty. Hosty and my father attended Fenwick High School, Oak Park, Illinois.

    My father has passed, but my mom still recalls their last meeting with Hosty. He seemed to believe the single gunman theory. Hosty was assigned to investigate Oswald and did underestimate the threat Oswald posed. That said, he wasn’t given a lot of information go on and might have had a different opinion of Oswald with more information on him.

    My mother seemed to think that J. Edgar Hoover needed someone to blame for not stopping Oswald, (since he was on their radar) before the murder. That guy turned out to be, James Hosty. I have no proof, nothing more than memories my mother carries, but she seems to believe Hostys story. Hosty was also on the Warren Commission.

    Besides losing a president, the assassination left us with questions that can never be answered to everyones approval. It would have been nice to see Oswald go to trial and the name Jack Ruby never become a footnote in history. But, it didn’t happen that way. And as it is, it will be debated a hundred years from now and if we don’t already know the truth, it may never be known.

  15. Petra Cahn
    Dupont, PA, USA
    November 16, 2013, 6:10 pm

    I don’t know how many care about the accuracy of costumes here, but President Kennedy wore a white t-shirt under his dress shirts. In the one of the first scenes, I noticed he is wearing a blue dress shirt with a tie, but no “under shirt”. This alone makes me not want to watch it since no one cared enough to look into this minor detail. Otherwise, I was 3 1/2 yrs old when the President was shot, and his funeral is the first thing I remember from television.

  16. Mark
    St. Petersburg, Fl.
    November 17, 2013, 2:15 pm

    Yes, you have to believe EVERYTHING, E. Howard Hunt says! After all, his legacy was one of being one of the most honorable people associated with government in U.S. history, wasn’t it? 😉