newsflash

Chris Pine is going to slap on some thick-framed glasses and grow himself a mustache to play noted sex symbol Walter Cronkite in Newsflash, which focuses on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Rather than push another JFK conspiracy theory, Newsflash chronicles Kennedy’s death through the lens of how it was covered by the TV news. Cronkite’s noticeable attempt to fight back tears when announcing Kennedy’s death live on air became a powerful image that still resonates to this day, and his coverage of the assassination made him one of the most trusted newsmen in America.

Deadline broke the news about Chris Pine playing Walter Cronkite in Newsflash, and honestly, I don’t know what to make of it. I think Pine is a good actor, and one of the more underrated of the Chrises (he’s certainly a hell of a lot better than Chris Pratt, but I digress). That said, Pine looks nothing like Cronkite. Not even remotely close. But that hasn’t stopped Hollywood before. Perhaps Pine wants to go the route of Charlize Theron in Monster, and completely transform his physical appearance for the role.

Newsflash is set on the day JFK’s assassination, and “covers the day that television network news came of age and that Cronkite became the most trusted TV newsman voice of America. Even if he wasn’t first to announce the president had died (NBC did that).” This approach sounds similar to the underseen ensemble drama Parkland, which followed the aftermath of JFK’s assassination at Parkland Hospital, where the dying President was transported after the shooting.

Here’s the actual footage of Cronkite announcing Kennedy had died.

“I choked up, I really had a little trouble,” Cronkite said years later. “My eyes got a little wet…[what Kennedy had represented] was just all lost to us. Fortunately, I grabbed hold before I was actually [crying].”

Mark Ruffalo will play Don Hewitt, “who was Cronkite’s producer and helped navigate the chaos in an unimaginably tragic day in America.” At one point, Seth Rogen was going to star as Cronkite, with David Gordon Green directing. Green has since departed and is tied-up making Halloween sequels and a film about Cambridge Analytica, so he won’t be returning to Newsflash.

I’m a sucker for movies about the JFK assassination and movies about journalists, so Newsflash sounds like it’s being made just for me. Yet I can’t get over how weird it is to cast Chris Pine as Cronkite. But I’m curious to see how this all turns out.

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