Tom Hanks sure does love his history. Variety is reporting the “Saving Private Ryan” star is re-teaming with his “Pacific” and “Band of Brothers” producing partner Gary Goetzman to make an independent film about the John F. Kennedy assassination under their Playtone Productions banner.
Peter Landesman penned the script and will direct for the first time.
The script is currently titled “Parkland,” after the hospital where JFK, his assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, and Oswald’s killer, Jack Ruby all died. The film will follow several characters including a doctor, reporter, Secret Service agent, Kennedy’s staff, and Jackie Kennedy.
The Kennedys have been a presence in TV and film for five decades, with countless TV movies, miniseries, and documentaries devoted to various members of the family, historical events, assassinations, and resulting trails.
The most successful project is Oliver Stone‘s “JFK”, which grossed $205 million worldwide and garnered eight Oscar nominations in 1991.
Most were not as lucky. Emilio Estevez‘s “Bobby,” based on the events at the Ambassador Hotel in the hours leading up to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, didn’t fare as well. The 2006 film opened to middling reviews and finished with a worldwide gross of $21 million.
Last year’s miniseries “The Kennedys” moved from History channel to ReelzChannel after History worried historical inaccuracies would harm their brand. The $30 million miniseries starred Greg Kinnear as JFK and Katie Holmes as Jackie, and found a small 1.9 million viewers (to compare, History Channel’s “Hatfields & McCoys” attracted 17 million viewers this may).
While not strictly a “Kennedy” movie, the upcoming film “The Butler” about a White House butler serving eight presidents over three decades, stars James Marsden as JFK and Minka Kelly as Jackie O, and may compete for the same audience as “Parkland.”
No word yet on casting for Hanks’ “Parkland” but he will likely stay behind the scenes as he did on “Pacific” and “Band of Brothers.” If he chooses to act in it though, a big name like his in front of the camera might add the legitimacy to the project that could propel it to the success of Stone’s “JFK.”
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