Earlier this year, the National Geographic Channel premiered its first original scripted project, “Killing Lincoln,” which follows the trajectories of Abraham Lincoln and his assassin John Wilkes Booth in the final days leading up to the deaths of both men. The film received an unprecedented number of viewers, making it the most watched program in the channel’s history. NatGeo’s series of original movies about famous assassinations, based on books by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and produced by Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions, will continue with “Killing Kennedy,” an examination of the intertwined paths of John F. Kennedy and his killer Lee Harvey Oswald.
Today, NatGeo announced casting for “Killing Kennedy,” which is set to premiere later this year. “Parks and Recreation” golden boy and “West Wing” alum Rob Lowe will play President John F. Kennedy, and Ginnifer Goodwin will join him as the iconic first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. In the enemy camp, Michelle Trachtenberg will step into her first Russian-speaking role as Marina Oswald. The project will be directed by Nelson McCormick (a fellow “West Wing” alum and a director on “NYPD Blue”) and will be written by Kelly Masterson (“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” “Snowpiercer”).
“Killing Kennedy” continues the concept of the “factual drama,” a new medium that the network is touting as a hybrid between documentary and drama, providing high scripted production value and appeal without compromising facts and historical integrity. The action of “Killing Kennedy” will begin in 1959, a year that finds John F. Kennedy in Washington D.C. announcing his presidential candidacy, while at the same time Lee Harvey Oswald is renouncing his U.S. citizenship at the U.S. embassy in Moscow. The actions of these opposing but equally ambitious men start them on a track that will soon lead to Kennedy’s assassination and Oswald’s subsequent death.
The movie is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. NatGeo, Scott Free Productions and O’Reilly are already planning to release another TV movie based on Bill O’Reilly’s upcoming book “Killing Jesus.”