November 22, 2013 is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of U.S President John F. Kennedy in Dallas by history's most infamous 'lone gunman', Lee Harvey Oswald. Kennedy's three years in office and his death have long obsessed filmmakers, and the anniversary of his death is launching new productions. Filming is about to begin on Parkland, the directing debut of screenwriter Peter Landesman, which documents the events on the day JFK was killed. The ensemble cast includes Zac Efron (The Lucky One), Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River), Paul Giamatti (Sideways), Billy Bob Thornton (Eagle Eye) and Australia's Jackie Weaver (pictured), whose post-Animal Kingdom career in Hollywood is firmly established thanks to the American success of David O. Russell's forthcoming Silver Linings Playbook, where she plays Robert De Niro's wife and Bradley Cooper's mother. Weaver scored her second Best Supporting Actress nomination for the role.
The one Kennedy assassination story that should come to the screen but probably won't is a film version of actor John Malkovich's stage adaptation of Libra, Don DeLillo's 1988 book about Lee Harvey Oswald. Malkovich wrote, directed and co-starred in the 1994 play for Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the troupe he co-founded in 1976 with the likes of Gary Sinise and Joan Allen. Reviews at the time were mixed, but in retrospect not preserving the work appears an opportunity lost. It might also have shone a different light on Malkovich's career, which has in recent years included such a high proportion of gangsters, killers and demented lowlifes that he appeared to be jockeying for position as the successor to Christopher Walken.
Malkovich mans up
Meanwhile, Malkovich, who probably doesn't have a portal running to his brain despite what Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze have suggested, carries on with his eclectic career. The actor turns 60 this year and he will mark 2013 will roles in the American independent thriller Cut Bank, where Armie Hammer (The Social Network) plays a young man trying who takes a risk to escape the small town he lives in and comes to regret it. Malkovich co-stars as obstacles with Ben Kingsley (Elegy) and Michael Sheen (The Queen), while for Italian filmmaker Gabrieles Salvatore (I'm Not Scared) he plays a Russian crime patriarch in Educazione Siberiana. There's also a sequel to the successful ageing spies Hollywood action-comedy Red, which will reunite Malkovich with Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker and Helen Mirren, while adding Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock) and Catherine Zeta-Jones (Traffic). The protocol for trailer sizes on that film would have been exacting, to say the least.
Breillat screwed by conman
In non-Malkovich news, French filmmaker Catherine Breillat, a director whose body of work has made the body a place where the explicit study of gender and sexual power proves to be a distinctive work, is at work on a new film. The writer and director of An Old Mistress, Anatomy of Hell and Romance, is at work adapting her novel Abuse of Weakness, which is inspired by her entanglement with a con artist following a stroke she suffered in 2004 that Breillat claims cost her approximately $1.5 million. For the autobiographical role of the protagonist Maud, Breillat couldn't have a better star than the French titan Isabelle Huppert.