’50 Shades’ Director to Show What Ted Kennedy ‘Went Through’ at Chappaquiddick

AP Photo/Henry Burroughs

The tragic 1969 car accident that left a young woman dead at the hands of late Sen. Ted Kennedy will make it to the big screen for a film that the project’s producer says will show audiences what Kennedy “had to go through.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, 50 Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson has signed on to direct Chappaquiddick, which was recently named to the 2015 Blacklist.

Project producer Mark Ciardi told THR Monday, “I’ve done a lot of true life stories, many sports stories, but this one had a deep impact on this country. Everyone has an idea of what happened on Chappaquiddick and this strings together the events in a compelling and emotional way.

Ciardi adds: “You’ll see what he had to go through.”

While it is unclear who is the actual victim of the event in the film, Kennedy or 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, who died, Chappaquiddick is described by THR as “a political thriller that unveils the true story of what is described as the seven most dramatic days of Senator Ted Kennedy’s life.”

On the eve of the moon landing, Senator Kennedy becomes entangled in a tragic car accident that results in the death of former Robert Kennedy campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne. The Senator struggles to follow his own moral compass and simultaneously protect his family’s legacy, all while simply trying to keep his own political ambitions alive.

The film is currently casting and is set to begin principal photography within a few months.

For some context surrounding the events of the Chappaquiddick incident, on the evening of July 18, 1969, Democrat Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy had just left a party on the Massachusetts Island, when he drove his Oldsmobile off a bridge and into a pond after making a wrong turn.

Kennedy was able to escape; however, his passenger, Kopechne, was left to die in the accident.

After swimming out to her a few times, Kennedy gave up and went on to his hotel without notifying anyone of the accident for 10 hours.

He later pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident causing injury. However, his two-month prison sentence was suspended, and he served no jail time.

Kennedy would go on to represent the State of Massachusetts in Congress until his death in 2009.


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