A Look at the Upcoming JFK ‘Assassination’ Thriller Starring Viggo Mortensen, Shia LaBeouf, and Al Pacino

Assassination Movie

Since its first announcement during the Cannes Film Festival, the movie Assassination is still in active development. However, there has been some additional movement with the project, with Barry Levinson signing on to direct the film, replacing David Mamet, who was previously attached to direct (and who also wrote the film alongside Nicholas Celozzi).

So what’s the latest on the film? Here’s what we know so far about the upcoming JFK thriller Assassination.

The Latest Assassination Movie News

In October, it was reported that Assassination had a new director (Levinson). While he is replacing Mamet as the director, Mamet remains very much involved having penned the script. It’s also not the first time this duo has worked together, as both Mamet and Levinson worked together on the 1997 Oscar-nominated film Wag the Dog, which starred Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro. Additionally, Mamet and Levinson also collaborated again on the 2013 HBO film Phil Spector.

Assassination was first announced at the Cannes Film Festival with the script Mamet co-wrote with Celozzi. Paul Schrader was initially approached to direct the film but declined.

At the time of the movie’s announcement, executive producer and chairman of Arclight Films Gary Hamilton released a statement on the project, saying, “With the undeniable talent of David Mamet at the helm and our stellar cast led by Viggo Mortensen, Al Pacino, Shia LaBeouf, and John Travolta, the stars have truly aligned. Assassination is a riveting and gripping thriller set in a pivotal period in American history, brilliantly crafted by Mamet – it’s an absolutely fantastic project.” 

A Look at the Assassination Cast and Crew

Even though Assassination is currently in active development, a number of actors have already signed onto the film. The Godfather star Al Pacino will star as senior mob leader Tony Accardo. This marks the fourth time Pacino and Levinson worked together. They previously worked on Paterno, You Don’t Know Jack, and The Humbling.

Viggo Mortensen, John Travolta, Shia LaBeouf, Rebecca Pidgeon, and Courtney Love have also signed onto the flick. Though, there is no word yet on who they will be playing in the film.

Behind the scenes, Robert Elswitt will serve as the Director of Photography. Elswitt is known for his work in the films There Will Be Blood and Nightcrawler. Celozzi, Corey Large, and Jason Sosnoff are the film’s producers. Hamilton, John Burnham, Pia Patatian, Bernie Gewissler, Amar Balaggan, and Jordan Nott are executive producers on the project.

And with Barry Levinson attached to the project, one can already assume this film will likely be an award contender. The Oscar-winning director won the Academy Award for the 1989 film Rain Man starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. Levinson also received six Oscar nods for the films Bugsy, Avalon, Rain Man, Diner, and And Justice for All. Additionally, Levinson recently co-executive produced the Hulu miniseries Dopesick and directed its first two episodes and executive produced Homicide: Life on the Street, which ran for nine seasons on NBC.

Before production will begin on Assassination, Levinson has another film premiering, Wise Guys, starring Robert De Niro. De Niro is taking on a dual role in the picture as mob bosses Vito Genovese and Frank Costello. Debra Messing, Kathrine Narducci, and Cosmo Jarvis also star in the flick, which will premiere on February 2, 2024.

The Story of Assassination

Assassination takes place in 1963 and centers on how Chicago mobster Sam Giacana arranged the assassination of John F. Kennedy. As the plot implies, the story will be told from the mob’s perspective. Variety reported the official synopsis for the film.

“1963. During a crucial justice hearing against organized crime, the head of the Chicago mob orders the assassination of President John F. Kennedy Jr., creating a deadly conspiracy while altering the fate of a nation.”

Writer Nicholas Celozzi based the story on his great uncle Sam Giacana, basing the material on details shared by Giacana. Previous reports of the movie said the film will focus on the 48 hours leading up to the fateful assassination. Giacana, according to Celozzi, suggested that the mob’s involvement in Kennedy’s murder was in retaliation for Kennedy’s campaign against organized crime. This was despite Kennedy relying on the mob during elections.

Assassination Movie Release Date Speculation

Because Assassination is still in the active development stage, it’s still too soon to have a release date. What we do know is that production may start soon, and will film in Vancouver under the working title “2 Days/1963.” It was originally supposed to film in September, but due to the SAG-AFTRA strikes still going on at the time, it was ultimately pushed back. 

It’s also unclear if there will be a theatrical release or if it will head straight to a streaming service. Even then, it’s also unclear which platform the Assassination movie will go to. We’ll keep you posted on updates as they surface.


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