'Killing Kennedy': The Assassin and the President

Rob Lowe, Bill O'Reilly discuss the Kennedy legacy laid out in the new National Geographic movie.
6:24 | 11/01/13

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Transcript for 'Killing Kennedy': The Assassin and the President
Just when you thought you might have heard everything about the life and death of john kennedy, a new film about the assassination which pairs up actor rob lowe with talk show host and author bill o'reilly brings a legend to life in a whole new way. Abc sat down with the unlikely duo to discuss their vision in this new look at camelot. Reporter: A man lifts a rifle and fires. Three shots. Three shots at the heart of a new movie "killing kennedy" about the collision course wean an assassin and a president. A story we have been telling ourselves over and over and over again ever since it happened for re real, 50 years ago next month. A landmark anniversary for those telling the story again now. Who include some interesting pairings like this guy, who wrote a bestseller called "killing kennedy." I remember sitting in a theology class in long island and having a loud speaker crackle and the principal go -- the president's been shot in dallas. My head snapped back. Reporter: And this guy who stars in the movie, based on the bestseller. It started with joe. If shakespeare were alive today he would have written about the kennedy family and jfq would have been a particular character and actors would play him as a rite of passage. Reporter: Not just this movie but others like "heartland" which focuses on the hospital where staff tried but failed to save the president's life. Shelves of books to mark the half century, a half-century obsession can we call it. And this thing still grabs us why is that? When he was killed his image was frozen in time. His good-looking robust man with a beautiful wife and a lovely family. When you had a tragedy like that, and a blunt force on a country, the image that stays is the image that people will always remember. Reporter: But how do you make fresh a story that's known so well? I john fitzgerald kennedy do solemnly swear. Reporter: Or if you're an actor playing kennedy how do you live up to an image so burned into public memory? Ask not what your country can do for you? You have to look like him. You have to have the voice. You have to have the mannerisms. That in and of itself is a challenge. We don't know what lincoln or adams looked like or moved like but ken si is on so much film do you need to do an imitation or fill it somehow? An actor's job isn't to imitate. Make the character recognizable as a human being. I am today, announcing my candidacy for the presidency of the united states. What I want to know is did the voice get stuck in your head? The voice that gets stuck in your head is the famous voice of "ask not" that's his. [ Terrible voice. I spent more time listening to his dictation. His private dictation. Reporter: "Killing kennedy" strives to be a record of what happens during his thousand days in office. From the agony of the "bay of pigs" debacle -- I was too soft on communism and I told them I was ready. Reporter: To the pink suit especially picked out to the day in dallas. Oh, my favorite. I know. Reporter: And even a nod to kennedy's obsession with abraham lincoln. Tonight is the night I should go to the theater. Reporter: All images from a legacy that began to be shaped in particular, by jackie kennedy almost immediately after her husband's death. Kennedy was the ultimate figure on which we projected all of our hopes and aspirations. He was so forward-thinking and so optimistic and so inspirational to us collectively, that when he went, we lost that. Reporter: How much of the story could be post humous mismaking, really? We know for a fact that his legacy is very carefully maintained, you know? And managed. I don't think that's a bad thing. That's as we would all want for anybody in our family. Reporter: Despite some ,000 books that reported of jfk in the past 50 years, new nuggets of information continue to surface like the recently released audiotapes from an interview jackie gave to a author four months of the assassination. After the cuban missile crisis, he said -- if anyone is ever going to shoot me this should be the day that they should do it. Reporter: Nuggets that could be startingly personal. He played records sometimes. Once there was a pleasing whisk of glory -- oh camelot. Reporter: It was not just what the kennedy family wanted us to believe had been lost, it was apparently what many alive at the time also wanted to believe. We need people to believe and people believe in jfk. Reporter: And the amazing thing is how long it has lasted. Even for people who were not there or too young to remember, like the actor playing jfk. I think generations divide between those that feel tingles still when they see the picture and those that don't because it was black and white faded photograph from far away. Which group are you in? I wasn't born. I was born short live after he was assassinated but I'm absolutely in the tingle group. Reporter: Which is why the story of that day still gets told. And why it's still felt by many what happened 50 years ago, as though it happened yesterday. For "nightline" from washington. "Killing kennedy" premieres sunday on november 10th on the national geographic channel.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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