Rob Lowe takes on one of America’s most iconic leaders – President John F. Kennedy – in National Geographic Channel’s “Killing Kennedy,” due out this November, and on Wednesday the actor opened up about why he wanted to take on the role.
“We don’t have a royal family here, right? Shakespeare made a career writing about the royals. Kennedys are sort of our royals and if you believe that concept then it’s like playing a character from Shakespeare. Actors play Hamlet all the time,” Rob told reporters on Wednesday during the first day of the Television Critics Association Summer Tour 2013 in Beverly Hills.
“[He’s] just one of our great American icons,” the actor continued. “But, in terms of how you look at it, you just try and figure what you can individually bring [to the role], and for me, it was very much about capturing him as a man. We all know the iconography of Kennedy. I was really interested in the details of what he was like as a father, as a brother as son, as a husband, as a flawed and a complicated and a heroic [figure].”
The film, based on the best seller from Bill O’Reilly, looks at the build-up to the tragedy, where Lee Harvey Oswald (played by Will Rothhaar) assassinated the President, 50 years ago this November.
Rob said one reason he wanted to do the project was to help re-teach this story to the younger generations.
“It was such a psychic trauma to us that I don’t really think anybody can have the experience that we had with this loss and one of the things that I was drawn to doing was to reintroduce these generations to what this meant to this country because people have — I don’t know if forgotten is really the right word — but that visceral ownership of that moment is not being passed on to the newer generations,” Rob, who was born four months after Kennedy’s death, said. “This will be the 50th anniversary and I could not be prouder to be with these people to try and reintroduce to people who might not know the details of what it meant to this country to lose him.”
The actor said he doesn’t subscribe to conspiracy theories over the assassination, and believes Oswald was responsible.
“I’ve come around to thinking that they got it right, that Oswald did act alone,” he said.
“I think it scares us to think that things can be that simple and huge, horrible things can happen by the act of one person,” he added. “We like to think there’s a safety net and most times, there isn’t and that’s in the end why you come back to thinking it was the act of a mad man.”