Rob Lowe portrays President John F. Kennedy in the National Geographic Channel’s ‘Killing Kennedy.’ The movie, based on the best-selling book by Bill O’Reilly, will air on Nat Geo in November.
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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Rob Lowe, who has publicly aligned himself with the Democratic party in the past, says it was not a concern to take on a TV movie adaptation of Fox News pundit and conservative Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Kennedy.
“I didn’t think about it at all because the book had come out and been so successful,” said Lowe at the annual Television Critics Association panel Wednesday in Beverly Hills.
O’Reilly’s Killing Kennedy, which came out last year and was a best-seller, examined the events leading up to President John F. Kennedy’s death.
Lowe plays Kennedy in the film, and says like O’Reilly’s book, National Geographic Channel’s version will present a unique perspective on the country’s 35th president.
“The way this story is told I’ve never seen before,” he said.
It features Lowe as the doomed president and Ginnifer Goodwin as first lady Jackie Kennedy, but it also depicts Lee Harvey Oswald’s life before killing Kennedy.
Will Rothhaar, who takes on the role of one of the most notorious killers in American history, says he tried to make Oswald relatable.
“You will look at him and say, ‘I’ve been there or I’ve felt that,’” he said.
Michelle Trachtenberg plays Oswald’s wife, Marina. She said about 80 percent of her dialogue in the movie is in Russian and she learned that she was a big fan of President Kennedy.
Goodwin was not physically present at the press event but instead live via satellite from Vancouver, where she films the ABC series Once Upon a Time.
She said one of the most challenging parts of the role was Jackie Kennedy’s aristocratic, breathy voice. Ultimately, the actress decided to not mimic her too much.
“A dialect coach said the more I nailed it the less she believed me. [The voice] is so unrelatable today.”
Lowe, too, had the challenge of recreating Kennedy’s look and speech, which the self-professed history nut says he believes presidents today are even influenced by.
The actor likes the challenge of portraying historical figures. He hopes to play President Ulysses S. Grant in a role that he calls “a dream project.”
This is not National Geographic’s first foray into turning an O’Reilly book into a made-for-TV movie. It also adapted O’Reilly’s Killing Lincoln to record ratings for the network.
Killing Kennedy will air in November on Nat Geo, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s death.