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Hollywood star Katie Holmes filming in Hamilton

Wife of Tom Cruise plays Jackie in Kennedy biopic

The Hamilton Spectator
By Daniel Nolan
7/14/10


Katie Holmes is in Hamilton shooting a Kennedy biopic miniseries for the
U.S. History Channel.

The tumultuous story of America’s first family of politics is being filmed on the streets of Hamilton.

Hamilton is one of the locations for the $20-million to $25-million TV production "The Kennedys," starring Katie Holmes as First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, which is slated for broadcast on the U.S. History Channel next year.

The Scottish Rite, LIUNA Station and St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church on Locke Street are just three of the landmarks that will show up in the eight-hour miniseries also starring Greg Kinnear as John F. Kennedy, Barry Pepper as Robert F. Kennedy and Tom Wilkinson as patriarch Joseph Kennedy Sr. The film covers the period 1960 to 1968, but features flashbacks to earlier years.

Filming was taking place this week at The Scottish Rite, and Holmes – wife of Tom Cruise – was on the set wearing a pink outfit with black lapels. This was the outfit the real Mrs. Kennedy was wearing in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, when her husband was assassinated in a motorcade by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Holmes, who first gained fame on the TV show "Dawson's Creek," was seen at one point putting on lipstick while looking at the window of an SUV. Cruise’s daughter Suri watched her mother from inside the vehicle.

Brian Harney, who has supplied 80 antique vehicles for the production as part of his company Motion Picture Picture Cars, said the exterior of The Scottish Rite is being used to depict a hospital while LIUNA Station is being used as a backdrop for Wall Street. He said the church was used to depict a voting hall when John F. Kennedy ran for president in 1960.

Filming is also taking place in Toronto, Oshawa and Cobourg, said Harney, who has been supplying vehicles to film productions for the past decade. A scene was also filmed in Ancaster with Pepper, as RFK, driving down a lonely stretch of road behind the wheel of a 1958 Chevrolet Impala. Harney, who lives in Hamilton, taught Pepper how to drive the classic car.

Nothing is being spared in the production, Harney said. He had to round up vehicles from 1907 to 1963. This included a horse and buggy, a 1917 Ford Model T and a 1937 Cadillac limousine (which he says is Joseph Kennedy’s actual car).

“This is the NHL,” said Harney, who gathered the cars from all over southern Ontario. “It’s the big leagues.”

Harney has interacted with the film’s stars and says they’re all very nice. He said Kinnear is “great” and described him as “a blue-collar worker, who works hard, who knows his lines and hits his marks.”

Tom Cruise has been “in and out” to visit his wife and Harney is set to hook up with him in about three weeks.

“Katie was really impressed with the ‘58 Chev Impala and said, ‘My husband would really like to meet you,’ “ Harney said. “She said, ‘Maybe you can spend the day with him showing him old cars’ and I said ‘Happily.’”

The show, produced by Montreal-based Muse Entertainment, is being made amid controversy. Executive producer Joel Surnow (of TV show 24 fame) is a well-known Hollywood conservative and critics, including former Kennedy aide Theodore C. Sorensen, have charged the film is soap opera and a distortion of the historical record. But History Channel has said the script was vetted by historians and written by Kennedy scholar Stephen Kronish.

Filming began in June and is set to wrap up in September.

dnolan@thespec.com

905-526-3351

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