‘Killing Lincoln’ Writer Says John Wilkes Booth “Could Be Poster Child For Tea Party”: TCA

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Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.

Erik Jendresen, the writer and executive producer of the forthcoming National Geographic Channel film Killing Lincoln, told critics during a TCA panel this morning that while Abraham Lincoln’s assassin John Wilkes Booth is often dismissed as a laundry-list psychopath, in fact “he could be the poster child for the Tea Party (movement).” Jendresen explained that he was astonished by the parallel feelings coursing through the country in Lincoln’s time that there are today. “If you look at the politics of the time, and the epithets hurled at Lincoln, the feeling is not dissimilar” to the feelings that grip many in the U.S. with regard to President Obama. “The idea today of this imperial Presidency and (Obama) declaring himself King and taking over…It’s just stunning to read the newspaper articles, letters, papers from back (in Lincoln’s time) and they could be transposed to the dialect of today.” The film is based on a book co-written by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, and Jendresen was asked what O’Reilly might say about his calling Booth “a Tea Party poster boy.” “I can’t speak for Mr. O’Reilly,” he concluded.

Related: Nat Geo Reteams With Bill O’Reilly And Ridley Scott For ‘Killing Kennedy’

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