Greg Kinnear on 'The Kennedys': 'When Hollywood gets involved with real life, certain liberties are taken'


Image Credit: Kennedys Productions (Ontario) Inc. and Zak Cassar

EW talked to Greg Kinnear, who plays John F. Kennedy, in preparation for tonight’s premiere of The Kennedys on Reelz. The project from Joel Surnow (24) and director Jon Cassar also stars Katie Holmes as Jackie.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Was it intimidating, the idea of playing John F. Kennedy?
I find fear is a great motivator to work hard. I had a bit of anxiousness taking on the role. I have always had the same as anybody, this incredible awe of him as both a mythical figure and an incredible president. It was a little overwhelming but it came down to doing it or not doing and I didn’t like the sound of the latter.

What did you think about the idea of doing a miniseries for History?
It was a big part of the equation for me. Though I wasn’t that familiar with History’s programming at the time, it certainly sounded right. It sounded like the type of place that would make a show like this. That really became secondary other than it inherently gave it some credibility that I thought would be important to the show. And I did think it seemed like a good home for it. The bigger task at was less about its distribution and more about trying to lend some level of authenticity to the character.

Do you think the project took liberties?
Katie Holmes played Jackie and Tom played Joe. So I know we took liberties. Whenever Hollywood gets involved with real life events, certain liberties have to be taken. This wasn’t a three-year movie capturing Jack’s time in office, and it wasn’t a 46-year long movie capturing his life, or a 66-year movie capturing thelife of his father. These are specific moments and places and things that unfold in a narrative that I think is well told and told truthfully. That was at least the mandate. The idea was to give people a dramatic, interesting telling of one of the most powerful political families of the 1960s and I like the way it balanced Jack’s handling of policy with the family dynamic as well.

Is it truthful?
So much has been written about Jack and the family over the years. I’m hesitant to say it because it doesn’t sound like a great sales pitch for the show but I don’t think there’s anything in there that you can’t read in my daughter’s school library. One of the good things about the script is that the characters are not played like cardboard cutouts. They are flawed, three-dimensional people.

Do you know why History dropped the project?
I was surprised of course but over time I read the same stuff everybody else had. I had confidence it would find a home. Honestly, not to sound glib, I’m not sure that I cared. At this point, it’s after the fact. Even if someone tells me, that would be one’s person’s version and I’m sure there are many versions. It happened. Life moves on.


Comments (10 total) Add your comment
  • The Kennedys

    Make sure to watch tonight 4/3 at 8PM only on REELZChannel!

  • Tarc

    “Certain artistic liberties” doesn’t cover a royal hatchet job, and kaneer’s careful wording is rather hysterical. History dumped the film because, after warning the production that the script had some problems, they filmed it anyway (and made it even more of a political hatchet job). It’s no wonder they dumped it, than had a lot of trouble finding somewhere to show it. It finally ended up on Reelz, which I assume all of seven people in the US actually have access to. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    • Buzz

      Wow Tarc hasn’t even seen it and he knows how goes.

      All the leftist drivel that pours out of hollyweird and yet Tarc is upset enough type a post against this film cause there may be a rightist slant…hilarious!

      Does he offer any specific criticisms? No. Funny that.

      I won’t watch tonight, but my DRV will record it for later.

      • Johnification

        Y’know Buzz, I’m tempted to write you off because you refer to “Hollyweird” and political leanings as “leftist” or “rightist”, but the fact is that I actually agree that the sensitivity surrounding the project is just absurd. It’s probably no more or less fictionalized than any other “based on a true story” film or miniseries. I myself am what you’d call a “leftist”, but I think it boils down to people being uncomfortable with the notion that an assassinated President wasn’t perfect. (Example: Abraham Lincoln and virtually everything ever said or written about him after his death.)

    • Sharon

      People that try to tell others what to do are control freaks. I watched it and LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • LRC

    Oh right Tarc…The Kennedys were such lovely people.

  • Dave M

    The Left Coast is very protective of their Democrats. OH NO, THEY ARE SHOWING HIM AS A WOMANIZER!! Shocking stuff.

  • Rock

    Johnification – you know your post doesn’t even make sense. There have been plenty of shows showing the Kennedys or part of them. This isn’t like breaking new ground. Heck any bio of Frank Sinatra incriminates the heck out of Jack. Not sure what you’re dribbling on about. Unfortunately somebody high up in a network decided this should only be seen by a few folks. But those same people will greelight real hatchet jobs on Palin and Cheney. Please spare me any more of you leftist dribble.

  • Evelyn Fletcher

    Greg Kinnear was amazing in his role as President Kennedy. All actors were exceptional.

  • shareyt

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