Chris Columbus Sets a Course for RFK Biopic
by Kevin Powers
August 11, 2008
Adventures in Babysitting and early Harry Potter director Chris Columbus has secured the rights to bring to the big screen a biopic on Robert F. Kennedy based on a book by Thurston Clarke called "The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America." According to Variety, Columbus will write, direct and produce the project (much like Emilio Estevez's Bobby, which Estevez wrote and directed), which is being set up at Columbus' own 1492 Productions. The story follows the brief Presidential campaign Kennedy undertook on March 16, 1968 and his tragic assassination on June 4 of that year. I'm certainly not a history buff, but Kennedy's story is pretty riveting. Can Columbus do the material justice?
Columbus' previous Mrs. Doubtfire and Rent experience doesn't exactly lend itself kindly to telling such a moving, historical story the way it should. However, the guy does have a blockbuster taste and apparently a strong personal interest in the material. 1492's partner, Michael Barnathan, said that Columbus was "inspired by the fearlessness [Kennedy] showed in those 82 days." At this point, I can't say I'm excited or down on this project yet. It is interesting that Columbus has taken such a hold on the project, so I'm anxious to see how it'll all turn out. Hopefully he takes it much further than Estevez did with Bobby.
For those with a slight deficit on the American history front (e.g. me, ten minutes ago), Robert F. Kennedy ran for the Presidency during a time when the US was, notably, battling poverty, the war in Vietnam and increased racial tension following Martin Luther King Jr's assassination. The guy was certainly a remarkable and inspiring man, and a viable candidate. But the morning after a surprising and major victory winning the California primary, Kennedy was fatally shot in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. This material certainly isn't Home Alone. Does Columbus have what it takes?