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.
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