Katie Holmes relished the chance to play Jackie Kennedy in “The Kennedys” miniseries, and the actress admitted Monday night that she was taken aback when The History Channel axed plans to air the project.
“When I heard about The History Channel not airing this, I was as shocked as everybody else,” Katie told Access Hollywood at the miniseries’ premiere in Beverly Hills. “I didn’t realize that was coming. I kind of just stayed out of it. I had a wonderful time doing this job and playing the character and, you know, it’s up to the producers after that.”
Luckily, the series – co-starring Greg Kinnear as John F. Kennedy — found a home on ReelzChannel, which will debut the eight-part series on April 3.
As far as taking on the role of the iconic Jackie Kennedy, Katie said she did quite a bit of homework to get it just right.
“I found all the footage that there is available and just watched it over and over and we all worked with a dialect coach,” she revealed. “I did a lot of research prior to starting shooting and we rehearsed and then at a certain point, you just have to say, ‘OK, I’m creating this character and this is what it’s going to be’ and just go for it.”
Research aside, Katie did offer some of her appreciation to some other folks who helped her embody the role.
“I think that the makeup and hair department did an incredible job – and the brown contacts made a huge difference,” she smiled. “It was very, very helpful in transforming.”
Katie said that when it came to bringing the character to life on the screen, she was able to find some common ground through motherhood.
“What I found amazing was not only was she the youngest First Lady — she was 32 when she was in the White House — but she had such young children [while] having that role. Of course, I sympathize with those moments where she had to leave her kids,” Katie explained. “In my life, I’m very fortunate because I am an actress and I can bring my daughter to the set and ever time there’s a break, we do arts and crafts or swing on the swings if we’re by a park. So, I feel very fortunate in that way.”
While The History Channel and the Kennedy family itself both seemed to take issue with the way the famed family was portrayed in the series, Katie said the cast and crew always aimed to treat the story – and its subjects – with respect.
“For us, we wanted to treat it as respectfully as possible and that’s how we felt about this whole series. We really wanted to honor these people and do the best work that we could,” the actress said.
In particular, she said everyone involved was very cautious while filming the scenes in Dallas, where John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
“It was very eerie. I felt fortunate because I didn’t remember that time, I wasn’t alive then, so it wasn’t like I was walking into it with my own memory, but it was a tragic event,” Katie said. “Especially with that scene, we tried to treat it very appropriately.”