First among several forthcoming films which relate to the JFK assassination is Parkland, the indie drama produced by Tom Hanks (among others), which draws its title from the Dallas hospital that pronounced President Kennedy dead and will center on that fateful day from the perspective of those inside the hospital and other particular figures of the day. Yesterday we were given our first official look at the cast in action, with a number of newly released set photos:
Agent Forrest Sorrels (Billy Bob Thornton was head of the Dallas branch of the Secret Service when Kennedy was assassinated. “He felt bound and determined to find out what happened immediately while he was going through the worst time in his life,” said Thornton of his character. “He felt completely responsible.”
Abraham Zapruder was a Russian immigrant working for a sportswear company, but he is most famous for inadvertently filming the assassination itself with his personal video camera. Zapruder was quickly put in contact with Agent Sorrels and provided the Secret Service with copies of the film for their investigation. Later, Zapruder sold both the print and film rights to Life Magazine for a total of $200 thousand, roughly $1.5 million in today’s money, although the deal forbade life from using the frame of the footage that showed the president’s “head practically open up,” as Zapruder put it in an interview with WFAA in Dallas on the day of the assassination. He gave $25,000 (about $187,000 adjusted for inflation) of the money to the family of policeman J.D. Tippet, whom Lee Harvey Oswald murdered when Tippet stopped him for questioning.
Dr. Jim Carrico was the first doctor to examine the President following the shooting. He was completing his surgical residency at Parkland at the time of the assassination. He was 28 at the time.
Doris Nelson was the ER supervisor at Parkland Hospital at the time of the JFK assassination. She was among the first to see the President and Mrs. Kennedy when each arrived at the hospital
Parkland is being released just shy of the 50 year anniversary of the assassination. While the story seems to focus on the characters above, it is certainly an ensemble piece that figures to mix intensely personal recollections of the events with a sense of the chaos of the day. Other notable cast members include Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook), Colin Hanks (Orange County), Tom Welling (TV’s Smallville), and Ron Livingston (The Conjuring). Parkland was written and is being directed by rising writer Peter Landesman, who is developing a bit of a U.S history theme to his work. He also wrote the Jeremy Renner-starring Kill the Messenger, which is currently filming.