Parkland director Peter Landesman on JFK, Zac Efron & Marcia Gay Harden
Former journalist Peter Landesman spent four years painstakingly researching the events surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy before he was ready to shoot Parkland. Check out our exclusive interview with the director of the film where he talks about adapting Vincent Bugliosi’s book Four Days In November which details the events in Dallas before and immediately after the murder of JFK on 22 November 1963, a day that changed the world forever. Peter also chats about working with the immensely talented Paul Giamatti, Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden and Ron Livingston.
Hanks, the double Oscar winning actor and an acclaimed producer and director, encouraged Landesman and guided the project to the screen. They both were particularly concerned that the film would be an accurate depiction of the accounts of key people who were caught up in the tragedy as it unfolded – the trauma room medics in the Parkland Memorial Hospital (from which the film takes its name), the FBI agents, Lee Harvey Oswald’s brother, Robert, and his mother, Marguerite. They were all key figures in the unfolding drama who have not featured in previous films – or really accounts of any kind — about the assassination.
Peter Landesman is an award-winning journalist for The New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, and others … and novelist and Parkland marks his feature film debut. He has a number of scripts in active development, including The Mission for Warner Bros. and the story of former FBI agent Mark Felt, aka ‘Deep Throat’ who was at the centre of the Watergate scandal.
Parkland Memorial is the name of the Dallas hospital where the mortally wounded President Kennedy was taken that day, where the medical staff worked tirelessly and ultimately in vain, to try and save his life.
Two days later, Lee Harvey Oswald, the man history records as the President’s assassin, was taken to the same trauma unit at Parkland after he had been shot by Jack Ruby whilst in custody at the Dallas Police headquarters. Landesman does not subscribe to the countless conspiracy theories that surround the killing, many claiming that Oswald was a dupe and not the assassin.
Landesman recruited a stellar ensemble cast for Parkland including Colin Hanks and Zac Efron as trauma room medics, Paul Giamatti as Abraham Zapruder, the man who filmed footage of the assassination on his home movie camera, Billy Bob Thornton as secret service agent Forrest Sorrels, James Badge Dale as Oswald’s brother, Robert, and Jacki Weaver as Oswald’s mother, Marguerite. Marcia Gay Harden is trauma room nurse Doris Nelson.
Parkland is available on available on iTunes and Amazon UK on 17 March 2014 and on DVD & Blu-Ray on 31 March 2014.