Entertainment & Arts

Rob Lowe to play John F Kennedy in US TV drama

Rob Lowe and John F Kennedy
Image caption Lowe is 49 years old, three years older than Kennedy was at the time of his death

The West Wing star Rob Lowe is to play John F Kennedy in a US TV movie marking the 50th anniversary of the American president's 1963 assassination.

Lowe will play JFK in Killing Kennedy, a two-hour National Geographic "factual drama" based on a book co-written by Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly.

Ginnifer Goodwin, from TV's Once Upon a Time, will play First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy when filming begins in June.

Lowe can currently be seen in the US sitcom Parks and Recreation.

The 49-year-old has received rave reviews for his role as a plastic surgeon in Behind the Candelabra, a biopic of the flamboyant pianist Liberace that recently screened at the Cannes Film Festival.

For many, though, Lowe will be best remembered for his appearances in 1980s "Brat Pack" films such as The Outsiders and St Elmo's Fire, and for his role as deputy White House communications director Sam Seaborn in The West Wing.

His latest part sees him follow in the footsteps of former West Wing co-star Martin Sheen, who played JFK in the 1983 mini-series Kennedy.

Sir Ridley Scott's Scott Free production company will be hoping Killing Kennedy has a better reception than 2011 series The Kennedys, that was effectively disowned by its US backers.

The drama was to air on the History Channel in the US before its parent company, A&E Television Networks, pulled the plug following complaints over its historical accuracy.

Greg Kinnear played JFK in that series, broadcast in the UK on BBC Two, while Katie Holmes portrayed his wife Jackie.

Image caption Goodwin will play Jackie Kennedy in the new drama

Killing Kennedy will also feature Gossip Girl star Michelle Trachtenberg as Marina, the Russian-born wife of JFK's assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

It is not yet known who will take on the role of Oswald, notably portrayed by Gary Oldman in Oliver Stone's 1991 film JFK.

Elsewhere, another US icon who met a premature end will be the focus of the latest project from Iain Canning, the Oscar-winning producer of 2010 royal drama The King's Speech.

Life will explore the relationship between James Dean and Dennis Stock, a photographer from Life magazine who was assigned to capture the young actor before he rocketed to Hollywood stardom.

Anton Corbijn, the Dutch photographer turned film-maker behind the acclaimed Ian Curtis biopic Control, will direct the film tentatively scheduled to shoot in early 2014.

Dean had leading roles in East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant before dying in a car accident in 1955 at the age of 24.

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