Sam Taylor-Johnson To Tackle Ted Kennedy Blacklist Thriller Chappaquiddick


The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Sam-Taylor Johnson, best known for helming the first cinematic chapter in the Fifty Shades of Grey saga, will take point for new thriller Chappaquiddick.

Setting up shop at Apex Entertainment, the drama is set to orbit around the infamous incident of ’69 that involved U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy and his young colleague, Mary Jo Kopechne. Upon visiting the titular island off the coast of Massachusetts, Kennedy accidentally sent his car careering off the road and into a nearby river, killing Kopechne. What spawned a national scandal was the fact that Kennedy fled the scene of the crash immediately, a decision that led to an irredeemable public stigma and two-month suspended jail sentence.

Taking place on the eve of the USA’s first moon landing, Kennedy regrettably claimed his deplorable act was an attempt to salvage his political campaign all the while sheltering his family name, though it wasn’t long before the truth painted the former Senator into a corner.

Bringing the intriguing and tragic saga to life is screenwriter Mark Ciardi, and his pitch for Chappaquiddick was recently nominated for the 2015 Blacklist. Per THR:

“I’ve done a lot of true life stories, many sports stories, but this one had a deep impact on this country,” said Ciardi. “Everyone has an idea what happened on Chappaquiddick and this strings together the events in a compelling and emotional way. You’ll see what he had to go through.”

Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan will also handle writing duties, and should Taylor-Johnson sign along the dotted line production on Chappaquiddick could get going in early 2016.