‘Chappaquiddick’ avoids conspiracy theories, partisan politics: ‘It’s a piece of history’

The producer of “Chappaquiddick” took an unusual approach in making the film by deliberately avoiding conspiratorial excess and partisan fury. “It’s a piece of history. You can’t worry about the politics,” said producer Mark Ciardi. “We just present the facts as we know them. It’s supposed to make you think and feel conflicted.” He expressed confidence that audiences won’t view the film as a hit job on Democrats in general or the Kennedys in particular. “Everybody on the movie is more liberal in their leanings,” Mr. Ciardi said, noting that the film’s director, John Curran, has long admired the legacy of the late Sen. Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy. “Chappaquiddick,” which opens Friday, reconstructs the 1969 car accident and its aftermath that left 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne dead and Kennedy’s political career in jeopardy. Australian actor Jason Clarke embodies a craven Kennedy foundering amid a moral quandary and vainly attempting damage control by donning a fake neck brace at Kopechne’s funeral. Focused squarely on the facts, the film ignores rumors of a dalliance between Kennedy and Kopechne or that she was pregnant at the time of the accident. (Conspiracy theorists note that no autopsy was performed on Kopechne’s body.) Like many modern news stories, the tragedy in Chappaquiddick has fed much supposition and speculation. “Everyone has a different opinion on what happened that night. … There’s all these different conspiracy theories,” Mr. Ciardi said. “We tried not to be swayed in any way by them.” Instead, the film production relied heavily on a 1970 inquest by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to guide its retelling of the tale. That left the film’s creative team to imagine conversations behind closed doors at the Kennedy compound in the days after the crash. The writers knew that the senator called the family compound three times in the hours after the incident. That inspired a chilling sequence featuring Bruce Dern, playing patriarch Joe Kennedy. The stroke-stricken elder croaks out “Alibi” to his last surviving son hours after the accident. Early “Chappaquiddick” reviews are laudatory for the evenness of the presentation. The New York Daily News sums up the consensus, describing the filmmakers’ sober approach in exploring an ugly chapter in Kennedy lore: “Those are the facts and director John Curran doesn’t try to make them any prettier. Any uglier, either, to be fair.”

After SO many movies about Watergate, and Nixon….while he was still alive, no less..   It’s curious why it took HollyWEIRD so long to do a movie about this incident in which someone actually died (unlike Watergate).  And, of course, it’s clear that they waited til after Ted Kennedy had passed away..  We look forward to seeing Chappaquiddick..  For more on this article, click on the text above.

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