“This was not supposed to happen.”
Parkland writer-director Peter Landesman adapts the Vincent Bugliosi book Four Days in November into the latest movie centered on the John F. Kennedy assassination. The movie is heading to the Toronto Film Festival in early September, and will open in theaters across the country on September 20. The first trailer dropped this morning, and we have it for you below.
Hollywood has harbored a unique fascination with the Kennedy assassination over the years, and understandably so. It remains one of our nation’s darkest days, and depending on your opinion on various conspiracy theories, it remains our dirtiest unsolved murder mystery.
Parkland, based on this trailer, appears to tell the familiar story through the eyes of people we don’t normally see. Paul Giamatti plays famed amateur cameraman Abraham Zapruder, whose footage of the assassination remains the best (and only) look we have of Kennedy’s death. Zac Efron and Marcia Gay Harden look to play employees at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital, where the president’s body was taken after he was shot.
In years past, though, the JFK assassination powered other movies in different ways. First, there is the ultimate “conspiracy theory” approach in Oliver Stone’s JFK:
There were movies that focused on Lee Harvey Oswald:
And Jack Ruby:
And then there was the fascinating pseudo documentary Interview with the Assassin, which floated the theory that a second gunman on the grassy knoll was ready to cofess before cancer finally claimed him.
There’s no shortage of JFK movies out there, but that doesn’t mean Parkland can’t find a new way to show us an old tragedy. If the ensemble clicks, or if Landesman finds some way to turn over fresh leaves, Parkland could find itself in Oscar contention. Time will tell. The movie opens everywhere next month.