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‘Bobby’s All-Star Cast Sounds Off on Politics, Passion and Playing Together

In the year 1968 Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign inspired a political passion in millions of Americans, awing and inspiring Democrats and Republicans alike with his deeply felt vision of a peaceful, compassionate nation that would adhere to its highest ideals and lead the world by its example. But like his brother John F. Kennedy before him as well as civil rights activists Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, Bobby Kennedy’s life was cut tragically short by an assassin’s bullet while he was visiting Los Angeles’ elegant Ambassador Hotel before he could ever reach the White House. Worse, the dream he shared with so many of his fellow Americans appeared to die with him and the nation slowly spiraled into one of its darkest eras.

A six-year-old who unknowingly delivered the news of Kennedy’s death to his actor and political activist father Martin Sheen at the time, Emilio Estevez did not forget the lessons of Bobby Kennedy and over time developed a dream of his own: to write and direct a film—not a conventional biopic—that would not only commemorate Kennedy’s ideas but to dramatize the powerful impact both his life and last days had on the average men and women of his time. Estevez’s passion proved to as infectious as his subject’s, luring a A-list assembly of actors to help bring the many stories that populate Bobby to life, as nearly every member of Estevez’s all-star cast explained to Hollywood.com:

EMILIO ESTEVEZ on what drove him to write and direct Bobby:
“I believe the death of Bobby Kennedy was in many ways the death of decency in America. I think it was the death of manners and formality, the death of poetry and the death of a dream. By definition, I believe I am an unapologetically optimistic and I am unapologetically earnest. And I believe we have come so far away from that. We have fallen away from those traits and I believe the movie is a reminder of who we were. The best of us has just unraveled. I believe Bobby, in many ways, was the third strike after Jack [Kennedy] in ’63 and Martin Luther King in April of ’68. Bobby was in many ways the last straw, the third strike, and we unraveled culturally at that point. We went into a freefall essentially, and I don’t think we’ve completely put the pieces back together. So I’m hoping when people come out of this movie they are reminded of a time when this country was looked at in a much different way.”

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DEMI MOORE on being swept up in Estevez’s passion for the project:
“I was still living in Idaho and this was probably, at this point, five years ago. We had been speaking and he called me and said, “I’m going to send you something I’ve really been working on. Just take a look at it and tell me what you think.” And I don’t think he said anything specifically about a role. It was just, “Read this. It’s just something that means a lot. I’m really passionate about it.” And we continued to talk and there was almost money there. So I feel like I have certainly not been inside it as much as he has, but I have been living with this borrowed passion until it became part of my own for some time. What I’ll also share about Emilio is they say when you take a flame to light someone else’s candle that it is the only moment that when you give something and you will not loose anything. I feel like Bobby Kennedy was a light who was holding this flame for us all. And that Emilio has picked that up and shared all that.”

ELIJAH WOOD on being swayed by Emilio Estevez’s vision:
“It was Bobby’s words and Bobby’s influence that made me want to be a part of it, but it’s ultimately meeting that man, Emilio, and sitting down and talking to him for two hours about the movie that he wanted to make and his passion for it and how he had already been on a couple year journey to get this thing to the screen that really made me want to be a part of it as well.”

SHARON STONE on her choice of character:
“I felt so lucky that the part Emilio offered me was the part of the lady who runs the beauty shop and gets to interact with all these different characters and had such humanity. Bobby Kennedy had such great humanity and really engaged himself with the people of the country and the people of the world. During his campaign he went to South Africa, he traveled, he met people, he really understood that he was a world citizen, and so, for me I believe my character had such a feeling of pride and was so touched by him because she saw his humanity. And when the people came into her place of business it was an international place of business. They came and went through her salon from all over the world. Not just all over the city, not just her regular clients. And they talked to her about their problems and their issues. She was someone who was addressing the world. So, when she saw him, I think she saw him as a person who touched and saw the people that she touched and she felt like ‘this is a real person.’ A real person who saw the same people that she touched and saw. And I felt like, y’know, she saw a real bullsh*tter when she saw one and saw a real person when she saw one. And that was why it was so moving when she saw him, and was so heartbreaking when she saw him get gunned down.”

LAURENCE FISHBURNE on the lasting bond that brought him to Bobby:
“I have the distinction of knowing Emilio longer than anybody [in this film]. His father was in many ways a father to me when I was very young. So I was completely obligated—I mean, Emilio and I are like family. So when I got this call to come and do the movie, I knew I was going to go do it, but I just needed to read whatever it was. What’s great about the film is that it really is a wonderful reflection of what I’m assuming is what the racial climate was in this country. And continues to be in this country in many ways, although I don’t think we really choose to acknowledge it in many ways. If we look at what’s on network television, and if we look at what’s on the covers of most magazines, one might walk away with the opinion that we live in a white country. And we don’t. We live in a very, very multifaceted, multicultural country. But the fact of the matter is that we haven’t really embraced that 100%, and really been honest about that. And what’s interesting about Robert Kennedy is that he was really aware of that. And he was kind of focused on exposing it and living in that kind of a world.”

LINDSAY LOHAN on bringing Bobby’s message to her generation of fans:
“It was nice for me to have an opportunity to kind of take on the role of someone who for my generation, I can kind of put a message into awareness out there to what’s going on in the character. And my sister I actually brought to the set and Sharon met her when she came to set. She didn’t know who Bobby Kennedy was and she learned so much from being there. And she went home and she did say stuff to her friends…But I think it’s important for me to use my celebrity status or what it’s become, in a positive way. Whether it’s through characters or through being with a cast of amazing people that I learned from and just putting it out there.”

FREDDY RODRIGUEZ on the story a single image tells:
“In terms of the my character, what was interesting to me when I saw the photo was that here you have the next president of the United States, lying on the ground with blood spewing out of his body, and the one person kneeling next to him is a busboy of all people. That just spoke volumes to me because at the moment of truth, when you hear gunshots ringing out everywhere and people are getting shot, I think human reaction is to flee, run for cover. And that wasn’t [the busboy’s] reaction. His reaction was to put his own safety on the line. And show courage and nobility, bravery. To kneel down next to a dying man, and comfort him at the moment he was shot. That just spoke to me about who he was as a person and how big his heart was. So from the beginning of the movie until the end, that was the common thread of who he is, a character trait that you see throughout the film.”

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EMILIO ESTEVEZ on how as a six year old he experienced the days following Bobby Kennedy’s assassination:
“I remember my father spent a lot of time on the phone because his best friend lived was here in Los Angeles. He was outside of Good Samaritan Hospital in downtown along with the rest of many people waiting news of Bobby’s condition and the memories I have of the next day and a half specifically was watching my father speaking long distance, which you know then was somewhat of a luxury and very expensive. He was on the phone most of the day with his best friend and we were getting updates that were beyond what we were getting on the television. And he just wept uncontrollably for the next two days. When you’re a child you look to your parents for guidance and for reassurance and at that moment on our history, my parents couldn’t offer that, and I think that is my greatest memory of that period.”

JOSHUA JACKSON on learning about Kennedy the politician and Kennedy the man:
“What surprised me the most was that this man grew on the campaign trail. He went through what seems like a pretty fundamental transition when he went to the Appalachians and was physically confronted with the destitution and desolations that some of his fellow Americans were living in. To me, I found it so engaging and inspiring that here was a man who had formed opinions and had been in a position of power—he had already been a senator and an attorney general and of course his brother had been the president and he lived in the public eye. He had every reason to just become another, you know, sound bite, poll driven politician and here he was actually still learning and growing and trying to figure out how to make the country that he loved so dearly better.”

WILLIAM H MACY on the continued relevance of Bobby Kennedy:
“I personally feel he’s relevant in his absence. I’m waiting for someone to stand up and speak truthfully to us. I cannot stand to hear politicians today. I cannot stand the way they massage the truth. I can’t stand how they spend so much energy making sure they don’t say anything that’s going to offend anybody. I think some offensive things have to be said. We’re in a dumbass war and I think we should get out of it.”

HARRY BELAFONTE on emerging from semi-retirement for the film:
“I was attracted to the script and I was attracted to the idea of Emilio directing it. I trusted his politics and his social point of view. Anthony Hopkins called me and I knew after that call that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. [Bobby Kennedy] is the image of what we are missing. If we can find that again, I think America will once again become a whole nation.”

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD on watching her director at work:
“I was really struck by Emilio—how amazingly sweet and kind and unassuming he was. Not what you would perceive a famous actor to be at all. He’s really down to earth and a simple great person. It’s so overwhelming—seeing what he went through. He worked so hard and he was so stressed and there was so much going on that I don’t know if I could handle it.”

NICK CANNON on taking a master class in acting styles:
“It was amazing being part of this film. I was a student watching people who have been doing this forever. They’re legends. I was just taking notes. Harry Belafonte—He’s a legend. The man was the first black man to go platinum. He bailed Martin Luther King out of jail. He’s been in movies with Sydney Poitier. He’s everything wrapped up in one. He’s a great actor, musician, composer, humanitarian, philanthropist—something that I strive to be and someone who I look up to.”

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BRIAN GERAGHTY on playing in the big leagues:
“We were all there watching each other and cheering each other on so it was pretty exciting. I love Martin Sheen. I watched him in his trailer as he watched baseball and we talked. That was cool. I watched Anthony Hopkins and Helen Hunt. Honestly, everyone was really cool but it was really cool to see Anthony Hopkins. It’s cool to be in a movie and he walks by and says ‘hey’ with his English accent.”

CHRISTIAN SLATER on working on the film vs. watching the film:
“That was what was great about Bobby–we were all there together, and I had the opportunity to tell all these people that I have loved and admired for so many years, to actually shake their hand and tell them all that I’d like to work with them again. So it was phenomenal. I had the wonderful opportunity to see it in Venice, and whether I was in the movie or not, I think even if I was just in the audience, it’s a special movie. I was really moved by it, I was inspired by it. I was reminded by it of who Bobby Kennedy was and the kind of man he was, and I also learned that if we don’t learn from our past we’re doomed to repeat it over and over.”

EMILIO ESTEVEZ on the surprise impact of Bobby outside the U.S.:
“We took the film for a little test drive out in Europe. And the European audiences were really taken by the film. They were really impressed by it, and I was kind of thrown by that, because I thought we had made a purely American film about an American icon. And this guy was ours. Bobby Kennedy was ours. And they said, ‘No, This movie reminds us of the America that we miss.’ I believe that too. I miss her too.”

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