n 1969, Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy drives his car into the water in Chappaquiddick. His passenger, the young campaign strategist Mary Jo Kopechne, is trapped in the car and left to die alone. Kennedy does not immediately call the police. He instead returns to his hotel, sobers up, attempts to establish an alibi, and calls in the help of his dominant father to save his political career. This film is based on a true story.

The film has been in development since 2015, when Sam Taylor-Johnson signed on to direct. She ultimately passed and the project lingered until 2016 when Jason Clarke and the rest of the cast came onboard. Director John Curran began principal photography in September 2016. Chappaquiddick held its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival. Distributor Entertainment Studios originally had it pegged for an awards season run, but decided to push the film back to a spring 2018 release.

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