The Corner

Culture

Bring On the Chappaquiddick Movie!

From the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt

Three Cheers for the Forthcoming Chappaquiddick Movie

Oh, just perfect.

Sam Taylor-Johnson, who directed Fifty Shades of Grey, is in talks to direct Apex Entertainment’s feature Chappaquiddick.

Mark Ciardi is producing the project, with its script just named to the 2015 Blacklist. Campbell McInnes of Apex Entertainment and Chris Cowles of DMG Entertainment are also producing.

“I’ve done a lot of true life stories, many sports stories, but this one had a deep impact on this country,” said Ciardi. “Everyone has an idea of what happened on Chappaquiddick and this strings together the events in a compelling and emotional way. You’ll see what he had to go through.”

Written by Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan, Chappaquiddick is political thriller that unveils the true story of what is described as the seven most dramatic days of Senator Ted Kennedy’s life.

On the eve of the moon landing, Senator Kennedy becomes entangled in a tragic car accident that results in the death of former Robert Kennedy campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne. The Senator struggles to follow his own moral compass and simultaneously protect his family’s legacy, all while simply trying to keep his own political ambitions alive.

A lot of conservatives will look at this news and howl, “Once again, Hollywood is whitewashing history, glorifying a liberal Democratic politician!”

But how do you tell the story of Chappaquiddick and not make Ted Kennedy look like the world’s biggest jerk, a man who should have done jail time? How on earth do you make the audience sympathize with Kennedy?

He drives, she dies. You can make up a shady GOP conspiracy out to get Kennedy, and cast Stanley Tucci and Christopher Walken and Willem DeFoe and Robert Davi — and Danny Trejo as the virulently anti-Castro Cuban-American – and it still ends with, he drives, she dies. You can cast… I don’t know, Hugh Jackman as Kennedy — you scoff, but remember, Cate Blanchett played Mary Mapes! — and it still ends with, he drives, she dies.

If you want to make a Ted Kennedy hagiography, you just ignore Chappaquiddick. Whether or not the director and creative team intend it, this movie will do a lot to tarnish — or in our eyes, correct — Kennedy’s reputation.

Back in July 2014, Brian Cates told the story of Chappaquiddick in a lengthy, detailed series of Tweets.

 

He concluded:

With all the facts in evidence, a charge of manslaughter would have been de rigueur for 99 percent of Americans. But this was a Kennedy. If 99 percent of Americans had gotten drunk, caused an accident, left the scene & another person to die, they’d go to prison. Fortunately for Ted Kennedy, he was Ted Kennedy.

The judge at the inquest could have filed for manslaughter but did not. The DA could have brought the charge, but also did not. Now you know the story of Chappaquiddick. A sitting US Senator killed somebody & walked away scot-free. This miscarriage of justice wasn’t done behind a curtain either, it was done with the entire country watching. We’re either a nation of laws where we are all equal under the law, or we are not. Chappaquiddick demonstrated the truth of the matter. I had to spend 20 years watching Ted Kennedy being held up as some kind of great man.

Democrats were able to do this because the truth about Chappaquiddick was quickly buried & most media never reported on it.

Quick, intermittent coverage, overshadowed by man landing on the moon, helped the Kennedy family’s image emerge more or less intact. I’m thrilled to see there’s a Chappaquiddick movie in the works. Because unless they rewrite the script to make Mary Jo Kopechne a mermaid, this movie is going to do more damage to the Kennedy mystique than the revelation that John F. Kennedy was having sex with 19-year-old White House interns.  

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