(NEW YORK) — On This Week Sunday, actor Rob Lowe sat down with George Stephanopoulos to discuss playing the role of President John F. Kennedy in National Geographic’s new movie Killing Kennedy.
Lowe, who has always been fascinated with JFK, said playing this role helped him realize exactly why JFK is held in such reverence.
“When you really go back and you listen to him speak and you read what he wrote, and more than anything for me, when you watch those press conferences, those White House press conferences … such wit,” Lowe said. “He was so fast.”
That wit and speed are ingrained in many American’s memories. Lowe said JFK has arguably “the most recognized face and voice” in history.
“As an actor, you have to service that,” he said. “Because if you don’t have the look and if you don’t have the voice, you don’t have anything.”
In addition to his charisma, the film — based on the best-selling book co-written by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly — also reveals JFK’s insecurities, as illustrated in its portrayal of the Bay of Pigs crisis.
“That’s how you make him human,” Lowe said. “And that’s why you fall in love with this character.”
JFK’s tragic murder 50 years ago occurred just as he seemed to be “finding his footing,” Lowe says. By making Lee Harvey Oswald the plot’s lone killer, the film takes the side of the Warren Commission in a hotly debated topic — whether there was a conspiracy behind JFK’s assassination.
In fact, Lowe revealed that he and actor Charlie Sheen used to argue about the validity of various conspiracy theories.
“Not only did we argue about it, but we actually had a couple of the leading authors come and speak to our little salon of friends,” Lowe said. “Charlie has since taken it to the level that he also believes the moon is hollow. I’m not really sure what the significance of that would be. But … I’m going with Vince Bugliosi, Warren Commission, [and the] Kennedy family instead of Charlie Sheen.”
Joking aside, though Lowe believes Oswald acted alone, he admits he has gone back and forth on the issue.
“I don’t think we’ll ever know,” he said.
When it comes to JFK’s legacy, however, Lowe’s mind is made up.
“He had the common touch. And yet he traveled the world and had every privilege,” Lowe said. “He was the unique original that everybody from President Clinton to Barack Obama or any of our leaders that we feel are great communicators, Ronald Reagan, all of them — all of them come directly from JFK.”
Killing Kennedy premieres on Sunday, November 10 on National Geographic Channel.
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