Michelle Trachtenberg Talks Playing Marina OswaldBy: Kimberly Ripley - November 8, 2013
Michelle Trachtenberg will play the wife of Lee Harvey Oswald, Marina Oswald, in the upcoming made-for-TV movie Killing Kennedy. She spoke recently with the L.A. Times about researching the part, as well as how it feels to portray the only main figure in the Kennedy assassination scenario who is still alive.
Marina Oswald was a young Russian bride 50 years ago when Kennedy was assassinated. This meant Michelle had to speak almost entirely in Russian while filming. This didn’t come with the kind of difficulty some actresses would have faced since Trachtenberg grew up in a Russian speaking family in Brooklyn. She knew very little about Marina Oswald, however.
“When something so monumental happens in American history and the killer becomes so villainized, you don’t realize that he may have had a home life, a wife or children. When I read the script I was floored at how dynamic a person Marina was. I had no idea she was Russian, so of course I related to that immediately. And the fact that she was still alive and she has daughters in their 50s was mind-blowing,” she said during her interview.
Most anyone in their mid-fifties and older clearly remembers when President John F. Kennedy was killed. But for Michelle Trachtenberg, who is just 28, her only recollection of the tragedy came from history books. This meant some serious research was required in order to wholeheartedly fulfill the role.
“I read this amazing book called “Marina and Lee.” It was the only book that Marina sat down for after that assassination. It’s out of print, but I was able to order it off of Amazon. It was really thick, like 600 pages,” she said. “I really was able to get an insight into her from that. In this day and age you can Google and YouTube, the last interview she did maybe 20 years ago for the 30th anniversary. She was still defending Lee.”
Michelle opted not to contact Marina Oswald as part of her research. Instead she relied on the various forms of media to gain insight into what it was like to be Lee Harvey Oswald’s wife.
Killing Kennedy is just one of several upcoming made-for-TV movies and documentaries that will commemorate the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s death. It premieres on Sunday night, November 10th on National Geographic. In addition to Michelle Trachtenberg, the movie also stars Rob Lowe and Ginnifer Goodwin. Hype about the movie is drawing lots of Twitter buzz.
This role is no doubt one of Michelle Trachtenberg’s more difficult endeavors. It will no doubt serve to raise her from the stereotype of films like Harriet the Spy and TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer into a category with serious actors. Playing Marina Oswald is serious business. Tune in Sunday to see her portrayal.
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