Chappaquiddick: Revisiting History–1969 Kennedy Scandal

Chappaquiddick, the new indie, concerns an old scandal involving the most famous and glorified family in American history: the Kennedys.

Which explains why the cast, producers, and director felt nervous taking on the project.

Entertainment Studios CEO and co-founder and executive producer of the film, Byron Allen, says: “Unfortunately, there are some very powerful people who tried to put pressure on me not to release this movie.  They went out of their way to try and influence me in a negative way. I made it very clear that I’m not about the right, I’m not about the left. I’m about the truth.”

The movie tells the story of what occurred in 1969, when Senator Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island in Martha’s Vineyard and the passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, was killed.

Allen referred to Kopechne as “one of the original #MeToo victims” and said it was her time to receive justice and the truth.

Even so, Jason Clarke, who portrays Ted Kennedy, was nervous to take on the role.

Clarke said the character is a recognized political figure and “if you don’t accept me straight away, literally within the first two minutes, as Ted Kennedy, then the film’s done.” He continued, “I was nervous on a ‘can I do it’ level and I guess on a ‘should we do it’ level.”

Playing Kopechne, Kate Mara said she was more concerned with showing that Kopechne was more than what the 1969 articles that Mara read depicted her to be. The actress was worried about how Kopechne’s family would receive the film.  It was important “to make sure we show her in a way that is respectable and that honors her in some small way.”

Ed Helms, who plays Joe Gargan, an attorney and Kennedy cousin, drew parallels between the film and the current scandals and alleged cover-ups surrounding the Trump administration. He said “Chappaquiddick” shows how the Kennedys could shape the narrative of the accident. “Now, it just feels like such a chaotic soup of news or counter-news or fake news all the time.  It’s hard to kind of know what’s real and what’s not.”