THE SHOT IN KILLING LINCOLN CHANGES AMERICAN HISTORY
National Geographic Channel Adapts Bill O’Reilly’s Best-Selling Book Into Its First Original Scripted Drama
Narrated On Camera by Academy Award-Winning Actor Tom Hanks
Remember to catch the premiere of Killing Lincoln exclusively on National Geographic Channel (Astro Ch 533) at 9.00pm on 17 March 2013
Kuala Lumpur, 5 March 2013 – April 14, 1985. It was the sound of a gunshot which changed the United States forever.
The most dramatic bullet fired was aimed at the 16th president of the Unites States resulting as the most resonant crime in the American history: the true story of Abraham Lincoln’s killing.
Premiering on 17 March 2013 at 9.00p.m, National Geographic Channel’s (Astro Ch 553) original scripted drama, Killing Lincoln, presents one of the most significant events in America’s history. Equipped with important historical insight, the film chronicles the final days of President Abraham Lincoln and the treasonous assassination plot by the villains.
Narrated by Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks, the film stars Billy Campbell (the lead actor in “The Killing” & “Once and Again”) as Abraham Lincoln and introduces Jesse Johnson in a breakthrough performance as John Wilkes Booth. Produced by Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Productions, the film adapts Bill O’Reilly’s best-selling book into a two-hour global television event. Additional cast including Geraldine Hughes as Mary Todd Lincoln, Graham Beckel as Edwin Stanton, who served as secretary of war under the Lincoln administration, and Shawn Pyfrom as Private John W. Nichols. Killing Lincoln is directed by director Adrian Moat (“Gettysburg”), written by Emmy Award-winning writer/executive producer Erik Jendresen (“Band of Brothers”) and produced by Mark Herzog’s Herzog & Co. (“Gettysburg”).
Killing Lincoln has all the components of a thrilling crime novel involving conspiracy, public assassination and an unprecedented manhunt. This is both an electrifying look at a shadowy scheme cultivated during the rapid-fire succession of closing Civil War events and a wrenching journey to understand a reviled “madman”.
In Killing Lincoln, Southern stalwart John Wilkes Booth is plotting a vengeance as he views President Lincoln as a tyrant eager to eradicate not just slavery, but the Southern way of life. He launches a clandestine plot to kidnap the president and spirit him away to the South. Due to the failure of Booth’s kidnapping mission, the plan to kill President Abraham Lincoln emerged. His ultimate triumph in murder shocked the nation and sparks the largest manhunt in the United States’ young history.
Jesse Johnson who played Booth says, “The prevailing image of Booth is one of a two-dimensional, mustache-twirling villain. My job was to dig deeper. It was to show that he was just as complex as a Shakespearean character he portrayed on the stage. Demonstrate the artistry, obsession and Southern rigor as well as the virulent disdain for an ‘inferior’ president that culminated into his own bloody, one-act play”.
“Lincoln is so adored, so universally revered today that it’s easy to forget he was a controversial president – one with many enemies – in fact he repeatedly dreamt of his own assassination. We felt that it was important to convey this hidden side of Lincoln, this sense of his almost wasting away with premonitions of death, even as he was outwardly so poised and steadfast through the closing of the war”, Campbell says.
With the obvious tension, the production dramatically counts down the president’s remaining days and actions leading up to the April 14 assassination at Ford’s Theatre which allows Lincoln six weeks of living, survival days and hours to breathe for the one last time before concluding with the aftermath of his murder.
The film opens in August 1864 – a year before his murder – as Abraham Lincoln is riding his horse alone. A gunshot is fired and shot through his USD $8 top hat. He has been in the office for four years and 41 days which drives the intensity of the hatred level toward him, even by the members of his own party to the very extreme state.
Juxtaposed with this is the following scene of John Wilkes Booth on stage performing, as swords clash and the audience cheers wildly.
Viewers are then introduced to Booth’s zealousness in a letter he writes and requested his sister to lock it in the safe: Right or wrong, God judge me, not man.… My love as things stand today is for the South alone. Nor do I deem it a dishonor in attempting to make for her a prisoner of this man [Lincoln] to whom she owes so much misery.”
On Tuesday, 11 April 1865, speaking to roaring crowds at the White House after Robert E. Lee surrenders; Lincoln is within range of a pistol. Booth is in attendance and promises that it will be Lincoln’s final speech. The stage is set: Abraham Lincoln has less than four days to live.
The “attack” time is set at 10:15 p.m. on 15 April 1865. Booth’s co-conspirators have their plan: Lewis Powell is to kill Secretary of State William H. Seward in his home on Lafayette Square; David Herold will then guide Powell out of the city via the Navy Yard Bridge; George Atzerodt is to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson at the Kirkwood House Hotel; and Booth will kill Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre.
After having a drink at the Star Saloon, Booth is admitted into the theater, crosses underneath the stage and works his way up into the presidential box, where he aims the pistol and fires the fatal shot at the President. Lunging off the balcony, he runs to center stage and shouts, “Sic semper tyrannis!”
John Wilkes Booth has less than 12 days to live.
Don’t forget to watch the premiere of Killing Lincoln on 17 March 2013 at 9.00pm exclusively on National Geographic Channel (Astro Ch 553).
About National Geographic Channels International
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