April 03, 2013 9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
TLC Sets Star-Studded 'Letters to Jackie' TV Movie (Exclusive)
TLC is commemorating the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination with a poignant documentary called Letters to Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy.
The two-hour TV movie hails from Oscar-winning documentarian Bill Couturie and will feature 20 A-list celebrities reading poignant letters sent to the then-first lady in the two months following JFK's November 1963 assassination.
During that period, the White House received more than 800,000 condolence letters from everyday Americans, including a polio-stricken 13-year-old offering words of strength for the first lady, a Peace Corps volunteer who mourns the loss while stationed in Ethiopia and a black woman who expressed her pride and gratitude for President Kennedy's work in the civil rights movement.
"Letters to Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy is a beautiful and moving tribute to a nation at a time of mourning. While the national lost its president, Jackie Kennedy lost her husband and the father of her children, and these letters explore how some of the most relatable moments can happen during such a remarkable time,” TLC GM Amy Winter said.
Actors poised to read the letters as part of the film include Demian Bichir, Jessica Chastain, Chris Cooper, Viola Davis, Zooey Deschanel, Kirsten Dunst, Anne Hathaway, Allison Janney, John Krasinski, Melissa Leo, Laura Linney, Frances McDormand, Chloe Moretz, Mark Ruffalo, Octavia Spencer, Hailee Steinfeld, Channing Tatum, Betty White, Berenice Bejo and Michelle Williams.
"It has been a honor making Letters to Jackie, and we are beyond proud to share these stories of how America came together and offered their support and beautiful words with Mrs. Kennedy, and honored the legacy of a president renowned for his work with civil rights, foreign affairs and social programs. Now, the entire country can experience this incredible moment in history through its premiere on TLC," Couturie said.
Amblin Television and the Couturie Company co-produced Letters to Jackie. Amblin's Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey executive produced the entry, which was written, directed and produced by Couturie and based on Ellen Fitzpatrick's book Letters to Jackie: Condolences From a Grieving Nation.
Couturie earned an Academy Award for his 1989 documentary feature Common Threads: Stories From the Quilt, which featured a collection of profiles of those remembered as part of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. His 1991 documentary short Memorial: Letters From American Soldiers was nominated for best documentary short subject.
The pic will air in the fall timed to the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination.