JERICHO, NY, JANUARY 17, 2002 – After nearly 40 years, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy continues to be an event marred by controversy and debate. On Monday, February 25 at 10:00 PM (ET), AMC's BACKSTORY presents a revealing look at the 1991 film JFK, which re-examined one of the country's greatest national tragedies.
Through probing interviews with Oliver Stone, Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones, co-scriptwriter Zachary Sklar and Bernard Weinraub of "The New York Times," interspersed with historical footage, dramatized events, and rarely seen behind-the-scenes footage of Stone on the set and in the editing room, BACKSTORY: JFK recounts the scandal and controversy that surround both the assassination and the film.
JFK, directed by Stone and starring Costner, Oldman, and Jones, delves into the investigation behind the assassination from the point of view of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison. The government investigation of the assassination was published in the Warren Commission Report, which states that a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, killed Kennedy. According to "Newsweek," "That conclusion has never satisfied a great part of the American public." A "Washington Post" survey in May 1990 revealed that "56 percent believe there was some sort of conspiracy to kill JFK and only 19 percent agree with the Warren Commission findings."
JFK was based on the book, "On The Trail Of The Assassins," a first person account by Jim Garrison into the murder of Kennedy. The film concludes that Kennedy's death was a grand conspiracy, engineered by the CIA. The proposed motive was to prevent Kennedy from pulling out from the Vietnam War, settle the Cold War with the Soviet Union and patch up relations with Castro's Cuba.
BACKSTORY: JFK reveals how the film became a target of fierce public and press scrutiny. Critics strongly chastised the project, even before the film was released. "Newsweek" stated, "Stone is inviting America to adopt an alternative version of history." "The Washington Post's" George Lardner, Jr., who obtained a preliminary copy of the script prior to the film's release said, "Oliver Stone is chasing fiction; Garrison's investigation is a fraud." "Time Magazine" called the film, "…part history book, part comic book." Stone responded to every press attack, and wrote letters to the editor late at night, after long hours on the set.
Stone went great lengths to authenticate his scenes, including the President's ride through the Dallas streets on November 22, 1963. The only actual footage filmed of the event was shot by a bystander on 8 mm film. Stone shot on both 8 mm and 16 mm film stock, so that the blend matched the real life footage.
Despite the on-going debate, JFK was released in December 1991. It grossed over $200 million worldwide and received Oscars® for Best Cinematography and Best Editing. While the film was marked by storm and scrutiny, JFK changed the way many thought about the tragic circumstances of Kennedy's death.
BACKSTORY is AMC's popular weekly series that captures the moment in time in which a movie was created. Cast members, directors, producers and other Hollywood players provide revealing inside "backstories" about the events that affected each film, its success and its stars.
BACKSTORY: JFK was directed and produced by Joel Sucher and
Steve Fischler of Pacific Street Films for AMC. Executive Producer for AMC is Jessica Falcon.
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* All times Eastern.