New role

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE - BY CAS­SAN­DRA SZKLARSKI THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Toronto’s Sarah Gadon stars in J.J. Abrams’s JFK con­spir­acy saga.

Sarah Gadon is far too young to have been around when for­mer U.S. pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy was as­sas­si­nated in 1963, but it wasn’t hard for the 28-year-old to be­come fas­ci­nated with the con­spir­acy the­o­ries that still live on.

The Toronto-bred ac­tress plays a 1960s li­brar­ian drawn into one of Amer­ica’s most con­tro­ver­sial tragedies in “11.22.63”, a eight-part time-trav­el­ling minis­eries ex­ec­u­tive pro­duced by “Star Wars” di­rec­tor J.J. Abrams and based on the 2011 Stephen King novel of the same name.

James Franco plays Jake Ep­ping, a mod­ern-day high school teacher who goes back in time to try to stop the shoot­ing and change the course of history. Things quickly be­come com­pli­cated as he falls in love with Gadon’s li­brar­ian, Sadie.

The whole op­er­a­tion is also threat­ened by the pres­ence of Lee Har­vey Oswald, not to men­tion the fact that the past it­self doesn’t seem to want to be changed.

The pe­riod drama was shot in Toronto and Dal­las, and Gadon said film­ing in the very city that wit­nessed th­ese events had a pal­pa­ble ef­fect.

“When we went to Dal­las to shoot the se­ries I went to the JFK mu­seum and I learned a lot about the dif­fer­ent con­spir­a­cies and it was in­cred­i­ble,” said Gadon.

“We recre­ated the mo­tor­cade and it was ac­tu­ally really in­tense to be there.”

Gadon said she was en­thralled by the ro­man­tic arc of King’s book and there’s more to the show than a sim­ple re­visit of the oft-dis­sected his­tor­i­cal event.

“They do have a sweep­ing clas­sic ro­mance and it’s really beau­ti­ful and I think James did such a great job,” said Gadon, whose other cred­its in­clude “The Amaz­ing Spi­der-Man 2,” “Maps to the Stars” and “Cos­mopo­lis.”

“He’s an in­cred­i­ble ac­tor and it was really spe­cial to be able to work op­po­site him.”

Gadon said Abrams came to set a few times, but was un­der­stand­ably busy with an­other project at the time.

“He was kind of making ‘Star Wars’ so he wasn’t around all the time,” she said.

“But I think it has all the kind of clas­sic Amer­i­can sto­ry­telling that he ... has made his name for.”

“11.22.63” de­buts in Canada on Su­per Chan­nel on Feb. 17, two days af­ter it hits the U.S. stream­ing ser­vice Hulu on Pres­i­dent’s Day.

CP PHOTO

Toronto born ac­tress Sarah Gadon ar­rives on the red car­pet at the 2015 Toronto Film Crit­ics As­so­ci­a­tion Awards in Toronto on Tues­day, Jan. 5.

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