“I want to be a great man. I just don’t know who I am.”
Those are the words of Sen. Ted Kennedy in the first trailer for Chappaquiddick, the drama about the infamous 1969 car accident on Chappaquiddick Island released by Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures Wednesday.
Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) plays the then-37-year-old Kennedy while Kate Mara (House of Cards) plays Mary Jo Kopechne, the 28-year-old former secretary of Robert Kennedy who was killed when the senator accidentally drove his car off of Dike Bridge on the Massachusetts island on the night of July 18, 1969.
Kennedy failed to alert authorities for hours after the incident, and Kopechne’s body was only recovered from the scene the next day. The incident badly hurt Kennedy’s reputation, at least nationally, and contributed to his decisions not to run for president in 1972 and 1976. Kennedy eventually ran against Jimmy Carter in 1980, but lost; Carter was later trounced in a landslide by Ronald Reagan.
Kennedy did, however, remain in the Senate until his death in 2009.
The trailer promises an in-depth look at the incident and its aftermath, with a strong supporting cast including Bruce Dern (Joe Kennedy), Ed Helms (Joe Gargan), Jim Gaffigan (Paul Markham), and Clancy Brown (Robert McNamara).
John Curran (The Painted Veil) directs off of a screenplay by Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan.
Chappaquiddick premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, and gets a theatrical release on April 6, 2018.
Watch the first trailer above.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum