The grief of a First Lady

  • TV
  • Saturday, 30 Nov 2013

Ginnifer Goodwin talks about working on Killing Kennedy.

IT was 50 years ago that United States President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald. National Geographic Channel’s Killing Kennedy chronicles the lives of these two men that ended at a point which altered the course of history. Based on a best-selling book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, Killing Kennnedy stars Rob Lowe (Kennedy), Will Rothhaar (Oswald), Michelle Trachtenberg (Marina Oswald) and Ginnifer Goodwin (Jacqueline Kennedy). In a transcript provided by the channel, Goodwin talked about working on this project.

What was it like to play such an iconic character?

There was a bit of pressure going into playing Jackie Kennedy, as I’m sure there was with any of the roles in this film. I have read other scripts in which Jackie appeared and I have blatantly not wanted to touch her. She is, I think, every modern woman’s idol, and so it was important to me that, if I ever did play her, I felt empowered to do justice to the person she was.

What about this script made you want to finally play her?

This is the first time I read a script involving Jackie that I felt had a little bit of everything. It is respectful, it is intimate and revealing, and the narrative is captivating. I could not put the script down, and I was really inspired. Ultimately, I think what really attracted me was that, in this story, we are showing so many private moments, which gave me a little more creative freedom than I even realised going into it. I had not really thought about the public version of her versus the private version of her. Then I started researching the role and thought, of course, and found there is almost no information about what happened behind closed doors. There are a lot of assumptions, and I think most people, including me, project onto them what we want these people to have been. But because almost all of the Jackie scenes in this film take place behind closed doors, as an actress,there was something liberating, something that took some of the pressure off and made it a little less overwhelming.

Why should people see this film?

What was attractive to me about it, and what I think the audience is going to love, is that it is so incredibly educational and yet the story is so riveting and personal and intimate and relatable and devastating and ugly and idyllic, all at the same time — much like real life. It is also like we have been filming two different movies: one on the Kennedys and one on the Oswalds. Our director, Nelson McCormick, describes this as being like two trains coming from two different ends of the universe on a collision course. When I read the script, I hoped there would be a different ending. Clearly, all of us know what is going to happen moment for moment, and yet there is something about the building of tension mixed with these beautiful, quiet moments that does make you almost think something else could happen.

> Catch Killing Kennedy on Dec 1 at 9pm on National Geographic Channel (Astro Ch 553).

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The grief of a First Lady


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