Katie Holmes discusses playing Jackie Kennedy for the second time


While the REELZ mini-series “The Kennedys: After Camelot” has been largely panned by critics, viewers are split on their opinion of the film that portrays the Kennedy family, mostly Jacqueline and Ted, after the Kennedy Administration and the events of November 22, 1963. This REELZ 4 episode mini-series is the follow-up to their 2011 movie that focused on the Kennedy administration. In both projects, Katie Holmes takes on the role of Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.

Holmes discussed the film and her experience playing the former first lady. Just before the film ran on REELZ, the feature movie “Jackie” starring Natalie Portman had been given high praise by critics and audiences and was released on DVD for home viewers. “I think Natalie did an incredible job, and I’m glad that we both had the opportunity to interpret this character, and bring her to life.” Holmes emphasized that the two actresses portrayed Jackie in different times of her life. The feature film looked at Jackie’s final days in the White House, and “After Camelot” begins with the assassination of Robert Kennedy in 1968.

“I think it’s really exciting,” Holmes declared about having films focusing on Jackie. “I mean, it just is a testament to how amazing Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was, and how much she meant to our country, and, we are infatuated with her.”

Ms. Holmes is also an executive producer of “After Camelot” and even directed one of the four episodes. Having portrayed the first lady in the previous REELZ mini-series, which included eight episodes, Holmes stepped right back into the famous shoes once again.

“I really feel so honored to play Jackie for the second time.  And particularly this part of her life, because it was the ’70’s, and Jon (Cassar, executive producer) and I talked about how that was going to affect the look of this miniseries, and we had to work in a different way than we worked together before, so that was really exciting. And he helped me so much with directing one of the hours, and so it was like another step from the first time we did it.  And I had a great time, and I love working with Matthew (Perry, who plays Ted Kennedy).  He was so receptive to all of my ideas, which was really nice.”

The actress explained how the wardrobe department did their best to copy many of Mrs. Kenney Onassis’ clothing, and the actress was delighted with all the clothes. “There is nothing like Jackie Kennedy’s closet,” she exclaimed.

When asked which particular item made her feel most like she inhabited the persona of Jackie, her immediate response was “her Cartier watch.” Holmes explained, “She had this very distinct black leather Cartier watch, and we got a vintage one. And there is something so classic about that, and so embodied her style, understated, but elegant.  And just putting that on every day, it was of a certain time, and I felt that sort of elegance of her.”

In fact, Jackie had ordered that watch after the assassination of her husband. She was determined to spend an entire year in black and insisted she have a black watch just for that purpose. She ordered it from Cartier. And FYI, if you want a replica of that famous watch, it is available from QVC. That watch and her three-strand pearls are two of the classic pieces of jewelry associated with Jackie.

“The Kennedy’s: After Camelot” is a story that elevates Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and puts her even higher on a pedestal than ever before, going so far as to show her strength in the final moments of RFK’s life, and her dedication to the Kennedy family. She is portrayed as a hero for the family and the world in this mini-series. Yet she was human with all the good and bad qualities each of us have. Yes, she did a lot to help the country through the dark days of 1963, but she was not perfect. She was an admirable woman with formidable qualities. She also was the person responsible for making the world associate the Kennedy Administration with the mythical Camelot.

REELZ continues to air reruns of this mini-series.



About Author

Francine Brokaw

Francine has been covering the entertainment industry, products, and travel for over 20 years. She has been published internationally in newspapers, magazines, and on websites. Her book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, looks at all aspects of being an entertainment journalist.

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