Last week the MPAA and Exclusive Media co-hosted an advance screening of Parkland with writer/director Peter Landesman. Parkland is the story of ordinary people thrown into extraordinary circumstances surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. From the cameraman who happened to film the actual attack and whose name is now forever linked to the visuals from that day – to the local Secret Service agent responsible for organizing the President's security – to the young medical staff who found themselves battling to save the life of the nation's leader and then, just a few short days later, his assassin as well.
The screening was followed by a discussion and Q&A with Landesman moderated by Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” Matthews is a renowned authority on presidents and politics, and author of six best selling books, the latest being, “Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.”
During the Q&A, Landesman shared his vision and process with the audience. He approached this project as an examination of the human stories of everyday Americans who were thrown into American history by way of chance. In his discussion, he reflected, “When Tom Hanks and I first conceived this movie four years ago we decided on two things, two principals. One is there is nothing in the movie that anyone has ever seen before… and two everything in the movie be verified by truth.”
Throughout the Q&A Landesman stressed that this story was about all of us. MPAA Chairman and CEO Senator Chris Dodd wrapped up the evening by reminding the audience “that the 'us" is why film is important.”
Landesman spent more than four years researching and writing the screenplay for Parkland, which is based on Vincent Bugliosi’s 2008 book, Four Days in November: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Landesman made the transition to film from a background as an award-winning novelist and investigative journalist for the New York Times.
Parkland will be released on October 4th to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the American tragedy that took place on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. The film premiered at the 70th Venice International Film Festival and was also screened at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. The cast includes James Badge Dale, Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Ron Livingston, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver, and Paul Giamatti.