Director reveals Kennedy family objections to series

Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:58pm EST
 
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By Etan Vlessing

TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - The Canadian director of "The Kennedys" says he is stunned by the History channel's decision to yank the controversial eight-part mini-series, given that he made every script change the U.S. channel and its lawyers demanded.

"We were very surprised," Jon Cassar told the Canadian Press newswire service Tuesday night at a Fox network press event in Pasadena, Calif. "The actual product takes no political stance one way or the other."

Cassar said allies of the Kennedy family were likely behind the decision by the A&E Television Networks' channel to cancel the show, starring Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes and masterminded by conservative 24 co-creator Joel Surnow.

(THR previously reported that Caroline Kennedy, daughter of John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy, and Kennedy scion Maria Shriver personally lobbied to have the miniseries scrapped.)

"I doubt they've even seen it," said Cassar. "They were objecting to it before it started. They were objecting to the idea of it."

The Canadian director added that "every time the History Channel wanted a change, or a lawyer wanted a change, we did it."

And if a scene went too far, "we pulled it back," Cassar told the Canadian newswire service.

The director pointed to an objection early on from the Kennedy camp to a reference to "sexual misadventures" in the White House that was removed.

Said Cassar, "The show is unrecognizable from the first draft, totally unrecognizable."