Jack Noseworthy grew up in Massachusetts. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The Boston Conservatory and has starred in films, on television and on Broadway. He made his Broadway debut in the original company of “Jerome Robbins Broadway.” He also played play opposite John Lithgow in the Broadway musical “Sweet Smell of Success.”
Now Jack gets to go back to his Massachusetts roots as he stars in the National Geographic film “Killing Kennedy.”
I spoke with Jack about the preparation for his role as Bobby Kennedy and what his expectations were for this role and the film.
Art Eddy: You play the role of Robert Kennedy in the National Geographic Channel’s “Killing Kennedy.” Was it nerve racking to be cast as such a recognizable historic figure?
Jack Noseworthy: I felt the need to be very respectful to this historical character that is a real person. He is revered in our history. I had self-imposed pressure I think to portray him in a way that I think would be historically correct to his character, but in a way that was true to the film. It needed to be an honest portrayal in the story that we were telling. Since he was a real person and people do love him there was real pressure, but like I said mostly self-imposed pressure.
AE: What was your research like for this role?
JN: There is so much research out there on the Kennedys. They are our country’s royalty. You really have to pick and choose what type of order you really want to go in. You don’t want to spend too much time on stories or things that are not applicable to the story that you are working on.
First and foremost you look at the script that you are given and you take everything out of that. The script was based from the book “Killing Kennedy” by Bill O’Reilly. When I had to research my role past that and beyond those written words I really focused on two areas. I read a biography by Evan Thomas called “Robert Kennedy.” I also watched a documentary called “RFK.”
The documentary gave me a physical, audio, and visual of who Bobby was and what he was portraying. It showed me how he carried himself and how he spoke. The biography really filled in the blanks from what an hour and a half documentary couldn’t possibly do.
AE: During your research what was some of the interesting facts you learned about Robert?
JN: While doing my research I found things that were really fascinating. One was his ability to change. He was brought up with a silver spoon in his mouth. Jack’s assassination affected him so powerfully and so deeply. He believed that Jack was the golden child. When Jack was assassinated, Bobby took it really hard. When he was able to change his own views on civil rights, I think it goes back to the assassination and people could feel his pain.
He was able to empathize with people who didn’t grow up like he had or had the resources like he did. The promise of Bobby was lost. I think he could have done some amazing things in his life. So what I really learned was his ability to embrace the unknown with open arms and his ability to not pass judgment on others. His ability to change was the greatest thing I learned from him.
AE: Being from Massachusetts did you feel any more pressure on making sure you had the New England accent down?
JN: It was one of the most important things to me. There was no way that I was not going to use an accent. I never once questioned it. I never once thought about it. I am enormously proud of my roots and where I am from. I went to college in Boston. I worked at the Boston Conservatory. Some of my family still lives there. I am a “Masshole” from the get go. (Both laugh.)
There was no way that it was ever going to be an issue. I gave you my full on Boston accent. It is for real.
AE: There has been a huge viewer response to this film. What was the cast and crew’s expectation for the films reception?
JN: I didn’t have any expectations other than my own excitement for working on the project. I loved the script. Kelly Masterson wrote a great script. He adapted Bill O’Reilly. Everyone involved was really focused on doing a great job. Everyone stepped up to the plate and brought their A game.
So right from the get go I felt that I was involved in a really special project. From the director to the cast this was something that we all wanted to be proud of. Ultimately when we finished the project we were really proud of it. It is hard when you make something. Once it is done it is out of your hands.
So my expectations were more about hope than anything else. I hoped that it would be great. It would have a great score and it the editing would be great. The fact that is did well and fans responded well to it was fantastic. It is not a movie about conspiracies. Based on Bill O’Reilly, he thought it was a lone gunman. The film is about people and their relationships. I think that is why people responded to it.
AE: Like you stated earlier this film is based on the Bill O’Reilly book with the same title. Was he on set at all?
JN: Yes. Bill was on set on one of the days that I was working on the film. I was able to talk with him about how he saw Bobby’s character from his book. He and I were able to discuss what he was interested in regards to how Bobby acted in the film.
There is a scene where I talk with J. Edgar Hoover. Bill wanted to make sure that I called him Edgar instead of Mr. Hoover. Bobby never called him Mr. Hoover so Bill wanted to make that I got that part right in the film.
AE: What was Bill’s reaction to the film?
JN: He was really impressed with it. He was incredibly happy with it.
AE: Are there any other projects that you are currently working on?
JN: I have a movie that I finished not too long ago. It is called “Julia”. I play a psychiatrist where I help women who have been victims of rape. It is sort of a physiological thriller and I play this psychiatrist who tries to have power of these women. The main character Julia is played by an actress named Ashley Williams. I think it is a really interesting movie. Matthew A. Brown is the guy who directed it. It will be doing the film festival circuit. I haven’t seen it yet, but when we shot it I thought it was a really good film.
Right now I am in Los Angeles to promote “Killing Kennedy.” I would love to be on a long running TV show. I love the theater. That is where I came from. It is great to go to work every day with the same cast and crew. I don’t know if it means to come on as a guest star and stay on that show or get on a pilot and have it do well with audiences. That would be what I would love to do next.