Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Making of Oliver Stone's JFK and Nixon: Hollywood Film History (2002)




JFK is a 1991 American political thriller film directed by Oliver Stone. It examines the events leading to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and alleged subsequent cover-up through the eyes of former New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner).
Garrison filed charges against New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw (Tommy Lee Jones) for his alleged participation in a conspiracy to assassinate the President, for which Lee Harvey Oswald (Gary Oldman) was found responsible by two government investigations: the Warren Commission, and the House Select Committee on Assassinations (which concluded that there was another assassin shooting with Oswald).
The film was adapted by Stone and Zachary Sklar from the books On the Trail of the Assassins by Jim Garrison and Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy by Jim Marrs. Stone described this account as a "counter-myth" to the Warren Commission's "fictional myth".
The film became embroiled in controversy. Upon JFK's theatrical release, many major American newspapers ran editorials accusing Stone of taking liberties with historical facts, including the film's implication that President Lyndon B. Johnson was part of a coup d'├ętat to kill Kennedy. After a slow start at the box office, the film gradually picked up momentum, earning over $205 million in worldwide gross. JFK was nominated for eight Academy Awards (including Best Picture) and won two, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing. It was the most successful of three films Stone made about the American Presidency, followed later by Nixon with Anthony Hopkins in the title role and W. with Josh Brolin as George W. Bush.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jfk_(film)

Nixon is a 1995 American biographical film directed by Oliver Stone for Cinergi Pictures that tells the story of the political and personal life of former US President Richard Nixon, played by Anthony Hopkins.
The film portrays Nixon as a complex and, in many respects, admirable, though deeply flawed, person. Nixon begins with a disclaimer that the film is "an attempt to understand the truth [...] based on numerous public sources and on an incomplete historical record."
The cast includes Joan Allen, Annabeth Gish, Powers Boothe, J. T. Walsh, E. G. Marshall, James Woods, Paul Sorvino, Larry Hagman, and David Hyde Pierce, plus cameos by Ed Harris, Joanna Going, and political figures such as former President Bill Clinton in TV footage from the Nixon funeral service.
This was Stone's second of three films about the American presidency, made four years after JFK about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and followed thirteen years later by W., the story of George W. Bush.

Eric Hamburg, former speechwriter and staff member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, got the idea of a film about Nixon after having dinner with Oliver Stone.[1] Originally, Oliver Stone had been developing two projects — the musical Evita and a movie about Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. When they both did not get made, Stone turned his attention to a biopic about Richard Nixon.[2] The former President's death on April 22, 1994, was also a key factor in Stone's decision to make a Nixon film. He pitched the film to Warner Bros., but, according to the director, they saw it, "as a bunch of unattractive older white men sitting around in suits, with a lot of dialogue and not enough action".
In 1993, Hamburg mentioned the idea of a Nixon film to writer Stephen J. Rivele with the concept being that they would incorporate all of the politician's misdeeds, both known and speculative. Rivele liked the idea and had previously thought about writing a play exploring the same themes. Hamburg encouraged Rivele to write a film instead and with his screenwriting partner, Christopher Wilkinson, they wrote a treatment on November 1993. They conceived of a concept referred to as "the Beast", which Wilkinson describes as "a headless monster that lurches through postwar history," a metaphor for a system of dark forces that resulted in the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr., the Vietnam War, and helped Nixon's rise to power and his fall from it as well. Stone said in an interview that Nixon realizes that "the Beast" "is more powerful than he is. We can't get into it that much, but we hint at it so many times — the military-industrial complex, the forces of money."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixon_(film)
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