It’s been 22 years since JFK came out. Oliver Stone’s conspiracy-theory assemblage was originally supposed to act as a “counter-myth” that captured “the true inner spiritual meaning of an event,” rather than a straightforward theory about what really happened at Daley Plaza. But that was in 1991, and since then, Stone has become much more aggressive about his political beliefs. Cory Franklin published an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune two weeks ago warning against listening to conspiracy theorists as the JFK assassination’s 50th anniversary approaches, including a note to beware of those who’d cite JFK as a source, since it’s “powerful” but “full of distortions and outright falsehoods […] essentially a propaganda piece meant to demonize a covert, evil, right-wing paramilitary group.”
That didn’t sit well with Stone, who these days is insisting his movie is, in fact, totally accurate. Wednesday, Stone and JFK co-screenwriter Zachary Sklar took to the Tribune’s pages to issue a heated rebuttal. “As co-screenwriters of the film, we want to assure Franklin and your readers that we made every effort to be as accurate and true to historical fact as possible,” they huffed. “Franklin repeats the Warren Commission’s long-discredited conclusion that ‘Lee Harvey Oswald shot President John F. Kennedy,’ but offers zero evidence to support this claim. The facts lead to a very different conclusion.”
Moreover, while “our film does not come to a firm conclusion about who was responsible for the Kennedy assassination […] it does reject the Warren Commission’s lone-gunman theory as implausible at best—a conclusion that 90 percent of the American people share, according to polls.” Stone was even less polite on Twitter, where he fumed that “The editorial was by the typical kind of moron who writes these type of things ridiculing complexity, but failing to cite any evidence.”
It’s this kind of thinking that drove famed lawyer Vincent Bugliosi so nuts that a few years ago he published a 1,632-page book attempting to prove once and for all that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. But it’ll take more than one massive tome to achieve that. In the meantime, Stone also announced that Warner Bros. will reissue JFK for one week in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C. in early November, just in time to get everyone whipped up for the 50th anniversary. It’ll also play at around 250 theaters as a one-night event on November 17 and 20.