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Stone  Recollections

4 Nov, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

Director Oliver Stone Talks JFK 50 Years After Assassination

BURBANK, Calif. — “Radical.” “Not to be trusted.” “Controversial.”

Those are just some of the less offensive words some people have used to describe famed director Oliver Stone’s work. And he seems just fine with it.

“I have created enough controversy that I’m always facing criticism,” the director said during a recent roundtable at Warner Bros.

Maybe no other film in his career generated — and still generates — as much controversy as JFK. To mark the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas (Nov. 22, 1963), Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is releasing the JFK: 50th Commemorative Ultimate Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray Disc Nov. 12.

The director stands by JFK to this day.

“I said when JFK came out, ‘Hey, don’t believe it necessarily, but go out and read, read the other version, so you’re not getting the mainstream press,’ which is backing the Oswald-did-it-alone Warren Commission theory,” Stone said.

And he still remembers the amount of criticism the film generated when it was first released in 1991, despite it earning eight Oscar nominations.

“I was criticized for Platoon, for The Doors before that. Less so for Wall Street,” Stone said. “But I made JFK and never came back. I reached a place where I was too radical, not to be trusted by critics who were saying I was making up things.”

But Stone insists he did his research, put out a book showing the research he and his team did, and to this day believes the Warren Commission report is an “Alice in Wonderland document.”

“It doesn’t make any sense, from [Warren Commission staffer] Arlen Specter’s magic bullet theory to Oswald’s background,” he said. “There’s part truth, but no real basis to believe the Warren Commission. Four of the members knew that, and they said so.”

And not all the response was negative, Stone noted.

“I get lots of letters from people who were young back [when JFK was released] saying, ‘This really changed my life. It made me think about things in a different way,’” he said.
“I can’t give you all the facts, but I can give you a way to think about it in a different way.”

Warner includes in the set three documentaries (JFK: To the Brink; John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums; and the new JFK Remembered: 50 Years Later), the feature drama PT 109 (about Kennedy’s World War II experiences), a 32-page book with quotes, a 44-page JFK movie photo book, a copy of JFK’s inaugural address, and other commemorative items from the Kennedy Presidential Library.

“They always consult me and they always try to make me happy,” he said of Warner Bros.’ treatment of the release.

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