2006's Emilio Estevez-directed drama Bobby was a take on the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy from the perspective of a lot of people-- played by a lot of celebrities-- who were in the vicinity of the Ambassador Hotel, where he was shot. Bobby didn't do all that well, but that hasn't deterred Tom Hanks (as a producer) from assembling Parkland, a recounting of the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963. As you can see in the film's first trailer above, which premiered at Yahoo!, it takes a whole lot of celebrities to tell this story as well.
Yes, that's Paul Giamatti as Abraham Zapruder, capturer of what's probably history's most famous amateur video. And, somehow, that's Zac Efron as Dr. James Carrico, the first doctor at Dallas's Parkland Hospital to examine the President after he had been shot. Call me crazy, but that mustache isn't making Efron seem any more believable as an ER doctor. The rest of the cast looks much more convincing in their roles, including Marcia Gay Harden as an ER nurse, Billy Bob Thornton as a Secret Service agent, Jacki Weaver as Lee Harvey Oswald's mother, and newcomer Jeremy Strong as Oswald himself, looking almost completely identical to the famous assassin. Check out this side-by-side:
Though Hanks is the biggest name behind the scenes, and only serving as a producer, director Peter Landesman has some interesting credits of his own. He's a journalist as well as a screenwriter (he scripted Parkland) and wrote several pieces for The New York Times, including a hotly disputed one about sex trafficking. Parkland will be his directorial debut, but his background in journalism ought to make him an even more interesting pick than, say, Hanks himself, who has stepped behind the camera a few times. Landesman adapted the script from Vincent Bugliosi's book Reclaiming History, which is described this way at Amazon:
Bugliosi, best known as Charles Manson's prosecutor, spent more than 20 years writing this defense of the Warren Commission's conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the slaying of President Kennedy, but his obsession has produced a massive tome that's likely to overwhelm most readers. At times, the author seems determined to present every detail his researches revealed, even if it doesn't add to the overall picture (like a footnote on Elvis sightings). Further, while Bugliosi says even serious conspiracy theorists don't claim the FBI or Secret Service were involved, he devotes chapters to each. The book's structure—it's organized by subject, such as theories about the role of the FBI, the KGB or anti-Castro Cubans—leads to needless repetition, and, for an author who excoriates conspiracy theorists, charging them with carelessness and making wild accusations, Bugliosi is not always temperate in his language; for example, twice he makes the nonsensical claim that some Warren Commission critics "were screaming the word conspiracy before the fatal bullet had come to rest." His decision to devote twice as many pages to critiquing Oliver Stone's movie JFK as to his chapter on organized crime (identified by the chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassination as the likely conspirators) is a curious one, as is the choice to open the book with a dramatic re-creation of events surrounding the assassination rather than a straightforward chronology of the relevant facts. Moreover, Bugliosi does not always probe whether individuals who are the sole source for certain facts (for example, Oswald's widow, Marina) had any motive to lie. Bugliosi's voluminous endnotes are on an accompanying CD. Gerald Posner's 1993 Case Closed made most of the same points in a much more concise way.
You can see the poster for Parkland below, and the movie itself in theaters on September 20.