Chris Columbus Sets a Course for RFK Biopic

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?

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  • Spider
    What a coincidence that I just saw Emilio Estevez's "Bobby" just this weekend. It was a pretty good flick. I give him props for writing a good screenplay and directing a star studded cast where a dozen characters lives' intertwine on that fateful evening of Robert Kennedy's assassination at The Ambassador Hotel. Estevez took the flick where it needed to go. Chris Columbus, on the other hand, will probably focus more on RFK's political crusade. We'll see. He sure has more clout than Estevez to get good promotion for this flick, though.
  • Will S. (Co Springs)
    'Bobby' was actually *too* star studded. I found myself distracted by all the big names. It's such a great story that could really lend itself to the silver screen with ease. I just hope he can pull it off.
  • I loved BOBBY and thought it was SO underrated. This sounds good too. All fiath in Columbus.
  • Donna Puskar Trott
    Trying to reach Chris. Have sent info and documents regarding his sister (step-sister, half-sister) with no luck. Not happy to use this but am out of options. Know father of Michael Benson (Entourage, Bernie Mac) but he has forgotton to ask Michael. Can anyone help me? I would be forever grateful. Donna




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