National Geographic Channel
Get ready for the can't-miss history lesson of the season! Killing Kennedy airs this Sunday. And if you aren't a history buff, how about this: It stars Rob Lowe's pretty face, and Michelle Trachtenberg as we have never seen her—speaking a foreign language she really speaks in real life!
Killing Kennedy follows the parallel stories of President John F. Kennedy, played by Lowe, and Lee Harvey Oswald (Will Rothhar) as their trajectories head toward their fateful meeting that November day. Ginnifer Goodwin and Michelle Trachtenberg play the wives, Jackie Kennedy and Marina Oswald, respectively.
Adapted from Bill O'Reilly's best-selling book, the National Geographic docu-drama sweeps through four years of Kennedy's personal and political struggles, as well as Oswald's own evolution into an assassin. The two-hour special, airing Sunday at 8 p.m., is the network's first full-fledged historically-based scripted drama. And it does not disappoint!
To get you ready, here's your ultimate study guide on Killing Kennedy, with seven things you need to know about Killing Kennedy—including exclusive scoop from Rob Lowe and Michelle Trachtenberg:
Kent Eanes/National Geographic Channel
1. Who Knew?! Michelle Trachtenberg Is Fluent in Russian: Not just a pretty face! The Gossip Girl and Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress tells E! News that playing Marina Oswald was both an exciting and challenging new experience. "I've always dreamed of doing a role and speaking Russian. I am fluent in Russian but to change the way that you speak to reflect a housewife in the late '50s and '60s is already an adjustment. And then when you're putting in the Russian, everything is an extra thought," she says. We think you'll agree, it's a demanding role and she owns it.
2. Rob Lowe Calls the Role a Dream Come True: The 49-year-old actor tells us he has always idolized the Kennedy family and had hoped one day he would get to portray one of them. "I had always thought maybe someday I might play Jack or Bobby because they're my heroes… So when this came my way, I was pretty excited about it."
3. The Concept Is "Brilliant": Nov. 22 marks the 50-year anniversary of Kennedy's assassination, and while there have been numerous cinematic remakes and retellings of this tragic story, Lowe says that Killing Kennedy is the best of the rest. "The question is why do we need another Kennedy movie?" he says. "The answer is because of the brilliant construct of the way this story is told of taking Lee Harvey Oswald and JFK at the same moment in time in 1960… These parallel lives meeting like Titanic meets the iceberg, you know it's coming."
4. TV Fans Will Love It: Whether you're a lover of Parks and Rec, Gossip Girl or Once Upon a Time, prepare to see these actors shine as they flawlessly embody the historical figures. Ginnifer Goodwin in particular gives a heartbreaking performance in the seconds following Kennedy's assassination. (Charming, where are you? Come help!)
5. It Gets Personal: Although the film focuses on Kennedy's legacy and the tough decisions that he faced while in office, audiences will also witness the marital struggles of the first family in a time when infidelity was overlooked. Goodwin gives a brilliant portrayal of Jackie's undying devotion to her husband despite his infidelity.
6. Trachtenberg Feels for Marina Oswald: She tells E! News she is excited to introduce a new side of Marina Oswald to the American public. "She was demonized for being married to at the time the world's greatest villain, the core of evil and she was just a woman who loved her husband," she says. "To this day, from everything that I've read about Marina, she has always thought that Lee was innocent. So as an actress, I had to go about playing her and thinking, 'OK, my husband is innocent. I believe this.'"
7. There Is Something to Be Said for Simplicity: From the very first scene, Killing Kennedy will capture your attention and keep you hooked from beginning to end. Trachtenberg explains, "We've just gone through the facts and shown the facts and I hope that they'll appreciate our simple portrayal of what actually happened."
Don't miss Killing Kennedy this Sunday at 8 p.m. on National Geographic Channel.