Fifty years after Dallas, 'Killing Kennedy' taps into life of Oswald

Thu Nov 7, 2013 10:23am EST
 
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By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A 24-year-old loner, frustrated by society at every turn, pulls out a gun and begins to shoot.

The scenario appears ripped from today's headlines, but this was half a century ago, and it was Lee Harvey Oswald assassinating President John F. Kennedy in Dallas.

Now approaching the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's murder, the television film "Killing Kennedy," which premieres on Sunday on National Geographic Channel, scrutinizes the often-ignored personal troubles of Oswald in a bid to humanize one of the nation's most reviled figures.

"All he has ever been seen as is a villain," said Will Rothhaar, who portrays Oswald in the film based on the 2012 book of the same name by Fox News Channel personality Bill O'Reilly and author Martin Dugard.

"I don't think he was a monster; he did a monstrous thing, but it had to start somewhere," Rothhaar added.

"Killing Kennedy" is the latest addition to the Kennedy film genre, which includes Oliver Stone's 1991 three-hour epic "JFK" and this year's "Parkland," a retelling of the chaos immediately after the assassination.

The film follows Oswald and Kennedy, played by Rob Lowe, in parallel narratives in the three years leading up to Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963, as his motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza in central Dallas.

Kennedy's youth, good looks and sophisticated wife, Jackie, are credited with giving the nation a shot of optimism and glamour.   Continued...

 
Actor Will Rothhaar, star of the National Geographic Channel movie "Killing Kennedy", participates in a panel discussion at the Television Critics Association Cable TV Summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 24, 2013. REUTERS/Fred Prouser