Jackie is a 2016 biographical drama film directed by Pablo Larraín and written by Noah Oppenheim. The film stars Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy, following her life after the 1963 assassination of her husband John F. Kennedy. Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup and John Hurt also star; it was Hurt's final film released before his death in January 2017.
The film was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival, and was released in the United States on December 2, 2016, by Fox Searchlight Pictures to universal acclaim and has been nominated for three Oscars at the 89th Academy Awards: Best Actress (Portman), Best Original Score and Best Costume Design.
The film's script, written by Noah Oppenheim, was originally conceived as an HBO miniseries, covering the "four days between John F. Kennedy's assassination and his burial, showing Jackie at both her most vulnerable and her most graceful". Steven Spielberg was originally set to produce the series, and later left the project.
Pablo Larraín, not typically inclined to directing biopics, was initially hesitant to direct Jackie when he was offered the opportunity. He stated that although he did not have any history or knowledge about John F. Kennedy's assassination, he connected with Jacqueline Kennedy. Prior to directing Jackie, he had only made films centering on male protagonists rather than women. Thus, Jackie is the first film that he could approach from a woman's perspective. He grew more interested in Kennedy after learning more about her. To him, her life after the assassination "had all the elements that you need for a movie: rage, curiosity, and love." Oppenheim said that the screenplay itself did not change much over the long development process, revealing, "When Pablo Larraín boarded the project, he had ideas. I wrote two or three more drafts with his guidance, but over a very condensed period of time. So while it took six years from first draft to completion, most of those six years were not active years."
In April 2010, it was announced that Rachel Weisz would star in the titular role, with Darren Aronofsky set to direct and produce the film, from Oppenheim's script. However, both Weisz and Aronofsky dropped out after they ended their romantic relationship. The same year, Steven Spielberg showed interest in helming the film. Then in September 2012, without a director, Fox Searchlight Pictures started courting Natalie Portman to star in the film as Jacqueline "Jackie" Kennedy, hoping that her participation would bring back Aronofsky, although Portman's involvement was contingent on which director signed on. At the 65th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2015, Pablo Larraín was approached by Aronofsky to direct the film, after he was impressed by the former's The Club. Larraín was skeptical, and asked Aronofsky why he wanted a Chilean man who was not fond of biopics to helm the film. In May 2015, Portman was confirmed to star in the film. That same month, Larraín was hired to direct the film, with Aronofsky working as a producer.. By the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, the film was officially a go. The rest of the cast – led by Greta Gerwig and Peter Sarsgaard – were announced between May and October of the same year.
Natalie Portman undertook immense research of Kennedy in preparation for her role.
Natalie Portman was approached to star in the film in September 2012, but her casting was not confirmed until May 2015. In preparation for the role, Portman studied Jackie Kennedy extensively by watching videos of her, repeatedly watching White House tour recordings, reading books, and listening to audiotapes of her interviews. She also read around twenty of her "pulpy" biographies, which she did not consider high literature. Her primary source was the seven-part eight-and-a-half-hour Life magazine interview conducted in the early part of 1964, by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. with Kennedy. One of three interviews she gave following her husband’s assassination, it was kept private throughout her life.
Portman said she was intimidated at first, and her initial knowledge of Kennedy was just a "superficial understanding of [Kennedy] as a fashion plate." But through playing her in the film, Portman gained a deeper understanding of the former first lady. While doing research, she found out that Kennedy had two personas in front of different people – a debutante in public but feisty behind closed doors. "When she was doing interviews, [her voice] was a lot more girly and soft, and then when you hear her talking to Schlesinger at home, you hear the ice in the glass clinking and the voice is a little deeper and her wit comes out more, so you get this real sense of the two sides."
Mimicking Jackie's ranging vocals was pivotal for Portman, since Aronofsky said "conquering Kennedy's vocals was the key to the rest of the film." Portman trained with dialect coach Tanya Blumstein, and in the beginning, had difficulty with copying Kennedy's vocals, especially on the first day of set when her initial delivery was too much. She has also said that the costumes helped her to get into character.
Portman is one of many actors to have portrayed Kennedy in cinema and on television, following Divine, Jaclyn Smith, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Roma Downey, Jill Hennessy, Joanne Whalley, Kat Steffens, Jacqueline Bisset, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Parker Posey, Blair Brown, Katie Holmes, Victoria Beckham, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Minka Kelly.
Principal photography on the film began in December 2015 in a Paris-area studio, where most of the interior scenes were shot. Production designer Rabasse and set decorator Melery oversaw replication of the White House rooms needed for filming in the studio just outside Paris. In February 2016, production moved to downtown Washington, D.C., where JFK's funeral procession scenes were filmed.
The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 7, 2016. It also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2016. Shortly after, Fox Searchlight Pictures acquired U.S distribution rights to the film, and set it for a December 9, 2016, release. It was later moved up a week to December 2.
Jackie received very positive reviews from critics, with Portman's performance being widely lauded. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 90%, based on 250 reviews, with an average rating of 8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Jackie offers an alluring peek into a beloved American public figure's private world -- and an enthralling starring performance from Natalie Portman in the bargain." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film holds a score of 81 out of 100, based on 52 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".
David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a highly positive review, writing that the film is "Extraordinary in its piercing intimacy and lacerating in its sorrow." Guy Lodge of Variety also gave the film a highly positive review, writing that "Chilean helmer Pablo Larraín makes an extraordinary English-lingo debut with this daring, many-leveled portrait of history's favorite First Lady."
The Dallas Morning News commentator Anna Parks criticized the film's negative portrayal of Jackie's relationship with Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson. She noted that letters, as well as a taped phone conversation between President Johnson and Jackie, which occurred on December 2, 1963, showed that the former first lady and the Johnsons were cooperating well.
Jackie review – a symphony of grief at the White House
4 / 5 stars
Natalie Portman is extraordinary as JFK’s widow, but the real star of Pablo Larraín’s kaleidoscopic film is Mica Levi’s score
Mark Kermode Observer film critic
Sunday 22 January 2017 09.00 GMT
In its 6 December 1963 issue, Life magazine published “An Epilogue” for John F Kennedy which enshrined an idea that would come to define his legacy. Citing the Lerner and Loewe musical beloved by her husband, Jackie Kennedy told reporter Theodore H White: “There’ll be great presidents again… but there’ll never be another Camelot.” It was an idea that stuck, effectively immortalising JFK’s all-too-brief tenure in the White House as a lost golden age. “Don’t let it be forgot,” Jackie kept repeating, “that there once was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot.”
A fictionalised version of this encounter provides the framework for the Chilean director Pablo Larraín’s Jackie, a dizzying kaleidoscope of reconstruction, reportage and reinvention that mirrors its heroine’s fragmented state of mind in the days surrounding JFK’s death. At its heart is an extraordinary performance by Natalie Portman as the icon caught in the eye of a violent storm of grief, politics and media management. With her husband’s blood hardly dry on her clothes (scenes of Jackie removing grotesquely stained hosiery have a horrible intimacy), the former first lady must pack her bags, comfort her children and stage-manage a funeral to rival that of Abraham Lincoln.
“This will be your version of what happened,” clarifies Billy Crudup’s unnamed journalist when Portman’s Jackie reminds him that she will be “editing this conversation”. Yet as we slip back and forth in time, from the awful events in Dallas to the aftermath in the White House and the arcane pageantry of JFK’s funeral, Jackie vacillates between candour and control (“Don’t think for one second I’m going to let you publish that”), while Larraín gradually reveals the woman behind the mask.
Having brilliantly melded new and archival footage in the political drama No, and played with resonant biographical fact and fiction in his forthcoming Neruda, Larraín seems perfectly placed to direct Noah Oppenheim’s script, which was variously courted by Steven Spielberg and Darren Aronofsky (the latter now produces). Restaging and interweaving scenes from the 1962 TV documentary A Tour of the White House With Mrs John F Kennedy, Larraín presents Jackie as the first lady of the televisual age, someone who understood the moving image as well as the printed word and became master of both.
In stark contrast to familiar, long-lens news footage, cinematographer Stéphane Fontaine, whose credits include A Prophet and Rust and Bone, keeps his 16mm cameras painfully close to Portman throughout. From the matching vanity mirror shots of Jackie before and after the assassination, to the tight-focus, handheld views of her dazed face as she stares into an uncertain future, she dominates the 1.66:1 frame, isolated even in company.
With her breathy vowels and strangely stagey expressions, I confess that Portman’s mannered performance seemed at first too arch to be engaging. Only on second viewing did I realise that her Jackie was not alienating but alienated. Scenes of her wandering the cavernous rooms and corridors of the White House (brilliantly recreated by production designer Jean Rabasse) reminded me of the Overlook hotel from The Shining. Whatever else it may be, this is a ghost story; no wonder John Hurt’s world-weary priest becomes the one person to whom Jackie can express her deepest fears. There’s a creepy connection, too, with Larraín’s bitingly sardonic The Club, as the whispering voices with which Jackie contends in Washington seem to echo the cloistered sins of Chile’s Catholic church.
Pulling all these disparate elements together is Under the Skin composer Mica Levi’s magnificent score. From the saddening glissando strings of the opening theme, with its falling invocations of death and discord, Levi provides the unifying emotional glue for Larraín’s deliberately shattered film. There’s a touch of Jonny Greenwood’s deeply unsettling music for There Will Be Blood about the recurrent swooning motif that Levi deploys (not to mention a funereal hint of Handel), while eerie silences echoing between strong but fragile chords poignantly recall Jackie’s isolation. Elsewhere, the drums of war scratch at the edges of plaintive piano pieces, while jazzier sounds evoke the sunny 60s optimism that was shattered in the wake of the Dealey Plaza shooting.
Solid supporting turns from the likes of Peter Sarsgaard and Richard E Grant add background colour, while Greta Gerwig’s social secretary, Nancy Tuckerman, lends a much-needed touch of warmth as Arthurian optimism is ominously boxed away to make room for a more abrasive incoming administration. As for Portman, she has earned deserved plaudits and nominations for her title role in a movie that rests heavily upon her shoulders. Yet for me, it is Mica Levi who unites the film’s shattered pieces, becoming the real heroine of this story.
Madeline Fontaine winner of Best Costume design BAFTA / Jackie
Stéphane Boudin / Jacqueline Kennedy: designing Camelot
Stéphane Boudin (1888–1967) was a French interior designer and a president of Maison Jansen, the influential Paris-based interior decorating firm.
Boudin is best known for being asked by U.S. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy to join American antiques expert Henry Francis du Pont of the Winterthur Museum and interior designer Sister Parish in the renovation and restoration of the White House from 1961 to 1963. After Boudin Impressed the first lady with his initial work in the Red and Blue rooms, Mrs. Kennedy gave him increasing control of the redecoration project, to the consternation of du Pont and Parish.
Jansen is known for designing interiors for Elsie de Wolfe, the royal families of Belgium and Iran, the German Reichsbank during the period of National Socialism, and Leeds Castle in Kent for its last owner, Lady Olive Baillie. He also decorated Les Ormes, the Washington, D.C. home of Perle Mesta, the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, and her sister, Marguerite Tyson; the house and its furnishings eventually were purchased by Lyndon B. Johnson. The Johnsons hired Genevieve Hendricks to integrate a touch of Texas into the Boudin decor because, as Time quoted Johnson as saying, "Every time somebody calls it a château, I lose 50,000 votes back in Texas."
By Innis Desborough
Stephane Boudin, a Parisian interior designer is well-known as the President of what is considered by many to be the world's leading interior decorating firm in the 20th century - Maison Jansen. One of Boudin's greatest projects as an interior designer was the restoration and renovation of the White House in the early 1960s.
Stephane Boudin was born in 1880. His father - Alexandre Boudin was a manufacturer of passementerie and trimming. It was while Stphane was working at his father's textile trimming business in the 1920s, that he was approached by Jean-Henri Jansen, the founder of Maison Jansen. In 1925, Boudin got an assistant by the name of Monsieur Henry Samuel. Following Jansen's death in 1928, Stphane Boudin along with Gaston Schwartz, took control over all Maison Jansen's interior design and decoration projects. While Schwartz contributed aspects of modernism, Boudin was the traditionalist.
Boudin helped the firm win several new interior design projects by giving importance to historical accuracy and detail, and through his adeptness at creating spaces that were both dramatic and unforgettable. He efficiently schooled the firm's young protgs, reviewed their work on a regular basis, and arranged trips for them to Europe.
The most significant order which Boudin received was most probably the one he got prior to his retirement - the order from Jacqueline Kennedy to work on the interiors of the White House (1961-63). Jayne Wrightsman - the woman who introduced Boudin to Jackie - was personally tutored by Boudin in French decorative arts.
Jacqueline wanted a touch of the international to be added to the American look of the White House, and Boudin was entrusted with the task of making this desire a reality. In addition, Boudin and Henry du Pont were enlisted with the duty of getting antiques, and of lending sophistication and thoroughness to the dcor.
Boudin mainly focused on the American Empire style when furnishing the Red Room of the White House. He included pieces made by Charles-Honor Lannuier, a cabinetmaker. In the case of the Blue Room, Boudin laid emphasis on furnishing it with furniture of the French empire style. The style for the Green Room, namely the Federal Style, was chosen by Henry du Pont, influenced by Boudin. Boudin also introduced changes in the dcor of the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room.
Another important interior design project which Boudin was entrusted with in his lifetime was to completely change the famous Leeds castle into a stylish country residence. It was the last private owner of the castle - Lady Baillie who entrusted him with this task.
Stephane Boudin retired in his seventies and passed away in 1967 - his successor was Pierre Delbe.
Following in the footsteps of the pioneers of interior decorating are skilled and highly qualified interior stylists and designers who often use art created with Watercolour Paper and Paints as part of a decorative scheme.
James A. Abbott, Elaine M. Rice
John Wiley and Sons, 25 sep. 1997 - 260 pagina's
"Perhaps one of the finest commentaries on American decorative arts ever published." William Seale White House Historian Designing Camelot The Kennedy White House Restoration James A. Abbott - Elaine M. Rice "From the moment President John F. Kennedy took the oath of office, his administration was characterized as having style," write authors James Abbott and Elaine Rice in their exquisite new book Designing Camelot. Nowhere was the "Kennedy style" more evident than in the rooms in which the young President and his wife Jacqueline lived and worked between 1961 and 1963, as America witnessed the transformation of its premier residence from "home of the President" to "house-museum." Designing Camelot is the first book to document the restoration of the White House by Jacqueline Kennedy and her advisors--the most significant and extensive to date. Under the watchful eye of the Fine Arts Committee for the White House, chaired by famed antiquarian Henry Francis du Pont and, unbeknownst to the American public, French interior designer Stephane Boudin and his firm Jansen, the White House became a model for historic houses all over America. Many of the country's governors' mansions were renovated as state First Ladies strove to emulate the efforts of a sophisticated Jacqueline Kennedy. Through rich anecdotes and a stunning collection of four-color and black and white photographs, Designing Camelot illustrates the rich interiors of the White House, while at the same time exploring the restoration as an extension of the Kennedy/Camelot legacy. Individual chapters examine the White House room by room inviting a look at not only familiar public places like the Oval Office and West Wing, but the Kennedys' private quarters as well. Kennedy enthusiasts, interior designers, architects, collectors, history buffs, preservationists, museum professionals, and White House watchers alike will enjoy this intimate look at the taste and style of Jacqueline Kennedy, the most watched First Lady of America, and the relationship between an extraordinary client and her designers. Far beyond the mere selection of furniture and fabrics, the renovation of the White House reflected the desire of the Kennedys--Jacqueline Kennedy in particular--to associate themselves with a grand historical past, and their efforts to enhance the entire atmosphere surrounding the Presidency. Designing Camelot captures this incredible era as never before, and offers a unique insight into the collective Kennedy mind and personality.
How Camelot Got Designed: Jackie Kennedy’s Visit to Winterthur
Jackie Kennedy’s Francophile tendencies and Stéphane Boudin’s role in the White House redecoration
Posted on September 21, 2011 in http://museumblog.winterthur.org
Maggie Lidz is Winterthur’s estate historian and curator of garden objects. She collects 1950s and ’60s interior design books and is especially interested in 20th-century flower arranging.
May 8, 1961, was a historic day at Winterthur. The museum’s founder, Henry Francis du Pont, had been tapped earlier by First Lady Jackie Kennedy to chair her committee to refurnish the White House, and she had come to the museum for lunch and a tour.
Among du Pont’s first acts as chair had been to appoint Winterthur curator John Sweeney to the committee. Sweeney’s fascinating memories of his role were recorded at Winterthur before his death in 2007. Among his most vivid recollections was leading Mrs. Kennedy on the tour of Winterthur that day in May.
The first lady’s visit was ostensibly private, but du Pont had a specific purpose in mind when he invited her. Sweeney remembered him saying, “I don’t know Mrs. Kennedy very well. Of course I have known her mother all her life, but I have a feeling that her real interest is in French things, and she does not believe that you can have a really swell house with American furniture. I wanted her to see that you can.”
Du Pont tried to limit the hoopla around the occasion and forbade photographers from accompanying them around Winterthur. Sweeney recalled one staffer lamenting, “Isn’t this something! A Public Relations person’s dream to have the most famous woman in the world coming to Winterthur, and I can’t do anything about it!”
Sweeney was a wide-eyed participant throughout the day. “[Mrs. Kennedy] came with an entourage, with the wife of a Senator from Oklahoma [Florence Mahoney], Jayne Wrightsman, and Mary Lasker, who was a sweetheart of a lady,” he said. “They arrived at the airport at New Castle, and H. F. went down to pick her up. They came back for lunch, and we had a little cocktail party first at the Pavilion (newly opened), and the Museum Trustees were all invited to meet her. H. F. felt he had to be polite to the Trustees. His general attitude was that she was coming for lunch, and he didn’t see any reason for there to be publicity about it or any excitement. You know the whole world was standing outside waiting to see her.
“We had a very nice lunch, and after lunch we went through the house and gardens, and then she stayed on for an early dinner with the du Ponts. They went right back to Washington after dinner. All sorts of stories about that day. I was 31 years old and she was 32. I mean we were kids playing house so to speak!”
Lunch (cold stuffed eggs, squab guinea, hot asparagus in butter, carrots, apple pie a la mode) began as an ordeal. “I was seated right next to Mrs. Kennedy, on her right,” said Sweeney. “I was quite shocked to know that I was going to be seated next to her. I thought, what in the world would I talk to her about? But Mr. du Pont said, ‘She is going to be on the committee with us, and you should get to know her.’ I remember talking a lot about her dog. I wouldn’t say it was a relaxed lunch for me, because, after all, [on my left was] Mrs. Copeland, the wife of the Chairman of the Board, so there I was squeezed between these two powerful ladies. We all survived.”
After lunch, Sweeney led a two-and-a-half-hour tour of the museum, hoping to counterbalance his guest’s overt Francophilia: “It was the way she looked at the world. She studied in Paris. She was at the Sorbonne when she was college age. That was generally her taste. She was definitely influenced by Mrs. Wrightsman who was a great collector of French furniture, and it was Mrs. Wrightsman who recommended [Stéphane] Boudin to her when she was working on her house in Georgetown before they ever were in the White House. I do remember she used French terms. She said ‘cheminee’ instead of ‘andirons’—thinking of French forms rather than American. Of course, the clue to the furnishings of the White House was the Monroe furniture, which was ordered in Paris by President Monroe and [was] the key to furnishings in the Blue Room.”
The last private owner of the castle was the Hon. Olive, Lady Baillie, a daughter of Almeric Paget, 1st Baron Queenborough, and his first wife, Pauline Payne Whitney, an American heiress. Lady Baillie bought the castle in 1926. She redecorated the interior, first working with the French architect and designer Armand-Albert Rateau (who also oversaw exterior alterations as well as adding interior features such as a 16th century-style carved-oak staircase) and then, later, with the Paris decorator Stéphane Boudin. During the early part of World War II Leeds was used as a hospital where Lady Baillie and her daughters hosted burned Commonwealth airmen as part of their recovery. Survivors remember the experience with fondness to this day. Upon her death in 1974, Lady Baillie left the castle to the Leeds Castle Foundation, a private charitable trust whose aim is to preserve the castle and grounds for the benefit of the public. The castle was opened to the public in 1976.