From The West Wing's Sam Seaborn to Pawnee's Chris Traeger, Rob Lowe has made a habit of playing characters in politics, but those characters are more behind-the-scenes types. Now, he's taking on a big role in a big-time political TV movie—as JFK, in fact, in National Geographic's adaptation of Bill O'Reilly best-selling adaptation of history.
Deadline reports that Lowe will star as John F. Kennedy in Killing Kennedy, the sequel of sorts to Killing Lincoln, which premiered in February and was also based on a bestselling O'Reilly tale of political assassination. (After Kennedy, O'Reilly moved onto Jesus.) Ginnifer Goodwin will play Jackie O. and Michelle Trachtenberg will take on the role of Lee Harvey Oswald's Russian wife Marina. Because nothing says wife of an assassin like Georgina Sparks.
There's good reason why these high-profile folks want to sign up for the drama. With Killing Lincoln:The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever and Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot, O'Reilly dominated the New York Times's bestseller list for hardcover nonfiction. Killing Lincoln got great ratings when it premiered on NatGeo.
Now, embarking on an O'Reilly project isn't necessarily a mark of political conservatism. Noted liberal Tom Hanks narrated Killing Lincoln on NatGeo in February, for instance. Lowe, of course, starred in The West Wing, a show from outspoken liberal (and Maureen Dowd ex-boyfriend) Aaron Sorkin. But Lowe hasn't always been so clear about his viewpoint: Even if he's interested in selling himself as a political junkie of sorts, he may or may not have been leaning outwardly right of late. After being considered a "longtime Democratic activist"—his sex scandal was associated with the Democratic National Convention in 1988—Lowe joined Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign in 2003. More recently, he's made some comments on his Twitter account that might imply he may not be all that liberal. A tweet about Benghazi in September, for instance, got Twitchy all excited. This month Lowe visited the White House to meet with Gene Sperling and made the press corps go totally fanboy/girl.
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But regardless of all that, isn't it kind of bizarre to think of Rob Lowe playing John F. Kennedy? He's about the right age, but he's just so, well, Rob Lowe. On the other hand, he did make a pretty stunning transformation in Behind the Candelabra. That face will haunt your dreams. And sure beats Greg Kinnear, back from the last time a JFK half-biopic produced by conservatives made its way to cable.