Fact-based indie Chappaquiddick appears to be moving along swiftly as Deadline reports that actor Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) and director John Curran (Stone) are in final negotiations to join the film. If all comes together, Clarke will star as former Senator Ted Kennedy in a tale that will chronicle one of his most infamous exploits. Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan penned the screenplay which was on the Black List of the best unproduced screenplays last year.
Chappaquiddick centers around a particular headline-inducing story in Kennedy’s past – a car crash that took the life of one-time fling Mary Jo Kopechne; Kennedy was driving the car that ended her life. The films looks to explore the events that took place that night (which took place the night before the Apollo 11 moon landing) as well as the immediate aftermaths – including Kennedy’s failure to report the accident until several hours later. Kennedy struggles and reflects his move following and the possible damage the accident may incur to his budding political career and his familial namesake.
Producer Mark Ciardi expressed, “Jason Clarke is the perfect choice to take on the complexities of this role. He has unwavering passion and commitment to this project. We’re equally pleased to bring on John Curran to direct. John’s body of work speaks for itself, and he’s such a visionary filmmaker. We’re excited to be working with both of them on this incredible film.”
No other casting announcements have arrived as of yet but Chappaquiddick is looking to start shooting sometime this summer. Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson was original on board to direct the film but scheduling on her upcoming Netflix pilot Gypsy prevented that moving forward. Curran previously directed well-regarded art-house fare Tracks starring Mia Wasikowska, The Painted Veil starring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts and We Don’t Live Here Anymore also featuring Watts.
Aussie Clarke may be familiar to audiences thanks to featured roles in the Oscar-winning Zero Dark Thirty and The Great Gatsby. He has also appeared in Lawless, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Everest and most recently in Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups. Coming up, he will be seen in the thriller HHhH alongside Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) and Mia Wasikowska and in Marc Forster’s All I See Is You. He recently signed on to Dee Rees’ Mudbound opposite Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund and Straight Outta Compton breakout Jason Mitchell.