Lowe down on JFK

Rob Lowe brings a US icon back to life in the tele­movie Killing Kennedy. Guy Davis speaks with the man play­ing John F. Kennedy.

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As the 50th an­niver­sary of his as­sas­si­na­tion in Dal­las, Texas, ap­proaches, the legacy of US pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy con­tin­ues to loom large in the pub­lic imag­i­na­tion – not just in the US but world­wide.

Kennedy’s time in the White House was rel­a­tively brief – just over two- and- ahalf years – but it was full of in­ci­dent, and there have been di­vided opin­ions about his ef­fec­tive­ness as a leader of one of the world’s su­per­pow­ers.

As a states­man, fig­ure­head and sym­bol, how­ever, his im­pact re­mains un­de­ni­able. And his life be­ing cut so short con­sol­i­dated his po­si­tion in the col­lec­tive con­scious­ness.

The­o­ries abound to this day about the death of Kennedy and whether it

Iwas a mas­sive, far- reach­ing con­spir­acy that may have in­volved for­eign pow­ers, or­gan­ised crime and even Amer­ica’s own mil­i­taryin­dus­trial com­plex or sim­ply the act of lone gun­man Lee Har­vey Oswald.

Killing Kennedy, a new tele­movie air­ing on Foxtel’s com­men­ta­tor Bill O’Reilly, it presents Oswald as a prin­ci­pled but some­what lost and de­luded in­di­vid­ual search­ing des­per­ately for a cause to give his life di­rec­tion and a way to make an un­for­get­table po­lit­i­cal state­ment.

And Kennedy is de­picted

Lowe: “I wanted to do it be­cause it was the 50th an­niver­sary of his as­sas­si­na­tion, and it felt like the right time to do it.”

Na­tional Ge­o­graphic Chan­nel, takes the lat­ter ap­proach, draw­ing its au­di­ence into the pub­lic and pri­vate lives of both Kennedy and Oswald in the time lead­ing up to that fate­ful day in Novem­ber 1963.

Based on the book by jour­nal­ist and po­lit­i­cal as a man thrust into a po­si­tion of power, strug­gling with the chal­lenges and com­pro­mises that ac­com­pany it but de­ter­mined to make his mark on his­tory while en­sur­ing his na­tion and its peo­ple move con­fi­dently into a new era.

Por­tray­ing such an iconic fig­ure is a big ask for an ac­tor, but turn­ing it down was never an op­tion for Rob Lowe, who plays JFK with sub­tle strength, con­vic­tion and hu­man­ity in Killing Kennedy.

A teen idol in the ’ 80s, Lowe has ma­tured into a ver­sa­tile and well- re­garded ac­tor, equally at home in dra­matic se­ries such as The West Wing and come­dies such as Parks and Recre­ation.

He’s also a long- time pol­i­tics buff, and a par­tic­u­lar ad­mirer of Kennedy, who he calls “one of my per­sonal he­roes”.

“There’s so much to ad­mire about him, but do­ing the re­search I was struck by his wit and how quick he was, how cu­ri­ous he was, how well- read he was, and how much he val­ued in­tel­lect and the arts – that’s rare in all peo­ple, but it’s re­ally rare in politi­cians, I think,” Lowe said.

“If there’s a book about

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