This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, undoubtedly one of the central flashpoints of the modern American experience and a singular event that has inspired as much theorizing, speculation, and conjecture as any in history. Perhaps it is a result of its insolubility that it retains such an ability to capture our imagination endlessly, whatever the reason, the books and films keep on coming. The latest in JFK-assassination-related ephemera is “Parkland,” a drama that looks at the events immediately following the president’s murder, through a prism of characters who were on the ground in Dallas. The large ensemble includes Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti (as Zapruder!), Billy Bob Thornton, James Badge Dale, Jacki Weaver, Colin Hanks and Marcia Gay Harden. Now the first clip and a bunch of stills have been unveiled, so start your theorizing.
“Parkland” is based on the book “Four Days in November: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy” by “Helter Skelter” author Vincent Bugliosi and takes a straightforward historical view of the crime, never getting lost in the conspiratorial loop-de-loops of something like Oliver Stone‘s “JFK” (brilliant but hogwash). The film was produced by Tom Hanks and his Playtone partner Gary Goetzman, along with Bill Paxton (!)
In the brief clip, we’re introduced to Efron, who plays Dr. Charles Carrico, a young resident at Parkland Hospital, which is where JFK’s body was brought in a last ditch attempt at resuscitation (Marcia Gay Harden plays a nurse and it looks like Mark Duplass is a Secret Service guy). It’s a brief scene but chilling nonetheless. Writer/director Peter Landesman and his cinematographer Barry Ackroyd (“Hurt Locker“) have captured the overwhelming feeling of horror helplessness that spread out, from a micro to macro level in the minutes after the assassination. You watch the clip below and look at the new photos while you’re there, because seeing movie stars in period costumes is always fun.
“Parkland” opens nationwide on October 4th.