Jason Clarke plays a morally compromised Senator Ted Kennedy in the official trailer for Chappaquiddick. John Curran (The Painted Veil) directed the historical drama from a script by Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan. Kate Mara, Ed Helms, Bruce Dern, Jim Gaffigan, and Clancy Brown also star.
Chappaquiddick details the real-life incident that almost derailed the career of Ted Kennedy, the younger brother of John and Bobby Kennedy. On July 18th, 1969 Kennedy accidentally drove his car off a one-lane bridge into a tidal pool off Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts. Kennedy escaped the sinking car, leaving behind his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne, who tragically drowned. Scandal erupted when details of the incident came to light, including Kennedy’s decision not to immediately call the police. Despite the scandal, Kennedy would remain in the Senate for decades more, and come to be known as a great liberal champion. He would, however, fail in his 1980 bid to win the Democratic presidential nomination.
Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures has debuted the official trailer for Chappaquiddick. Jason Clarke plays Ted Kennedy as he grapples with the consequences of his actions on the night of July 18th. Kennedy wants to follow in the footsteps of his famous brothers, but fears his flaws will hold him back. The film starkly recreates the accident that claimed the life of Mary Jo Kopechne and nearly ended Ted Kennedy’s political career. See the trailer above.
In addition to painting a portrait of Kennedy the man, the film looks at efforts to protect his legacy in the wake of the tragedy. The ever-crusty Bruce Dern plays tough-as-nails Kennedy patriarch Joe Kennedy. Kate Mara plays the tragic Mary Jo Kopechne. (Notably, Mara now has the distinction of dying on-screen at the hands of both a senator and a vice president.) The normally light-hearted Ed Helms tries his hand at drama as Kennedy friend Joe Gargan.
Chappaquiddick presents a very different portrait of the Kennedy legacy than movies normally paint. Though films occasionally address JFK and Bobby Kennedy’s flaws, generally the men are presented as heroic figures who became martyrs. Ted Kennedy gets no such treatment in Chappaquiddick, as it focuses on the darkest moment of his life. Kennedy’s true legacy remains a matter of debate to this day. Some still view him as a hero, while others believe he merely skated by on the strength of his name. Jason Clarke, who truly looks the part, gets to shine as a flawed character grappling with his demons.
Chappaquiddick first screened at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. The film hits U.S. theaters on April 6th, 2018.
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