"Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world." (Robert F. Kennedy)
In 1968 Emilio Estevez was one of millions of Americans who were deeply affected by the assassination of Robert Kennedy. Although he was very young then, his memories of that time have stayed with him and have manifested into his story of the last day in the life of Senator Robert Kennedy. This film is not, however, a film about Bobby Kennedy. Rather it is a statement of the times. If you're expecting a documentary or a docu-drama about RFK, you are in for a surprise as this is neither of those.
Bobby tells the story of several fictionalized people whose lives happen to intersect the night of June 4, 1968 in the Embassy Ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles - the day of the California Presidential Primary.
The film intertwines some of RFK's words and campaign with the drama that is taking place in the lives of the main characters. The film is a look at the times - the late 60's. The Vietnam War was raging, drug use was becoming more prevalent, racial issues were at the front of people's consciousness, and life was very different. Disenchantment with the country and the world was taking over and the idealism of RFK sparked hope in people who felt he was their last resource. Only two months earlier Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated, and the country was still reeling from his death. RFK provided a ray of sunshine in what was often felt to be a very bleak time. "All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world," he said, "but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity."
Anthony Hopkins, William H. Macy, Sharon Stone, Heather Graham, Christian Slater, Freddy Rodriguez, Laurence Fishburne, Martin Sheen, Demi Moore and others star in this film which Estevez wrote and directed.
After the assassination, the Ambassador Hotel was irrevocably linked to the death of Robert Kennedy, as Dallas is linked to the assassination of President Kennedy and Ford's Theater with Abraham Lincoln. The building was closed to the public in 1989, and finally torn down in February 2006, but Estevez managed to film several key scenes in the building before its demolition. Ironically, his father, Martin Sheen, was instrumental in getting the building demolished, at the bequest of the Kennedy family who wanted it turned into a school. Even though most of the filming was done in other places, Estevez was grateful to have shot some of the interior and exterior of the famous hotel before it was gone forever.
The legacy of Bobby Kennedy is still strong. The impact of his words, acts, and life made an indelible mark in the history of the country and the lives of many people. His intelligence and wit captured the hearts and minds of people everywhere. He challenged young people to get involved, much like his brother did. He said, "Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation."
1968 was a troubled year. Bobby reflects the year and the changing times. While it is not directly a story about Robert Kennedy, it is Estevez' homage to the man whose memory lives on not only in history books, but also in the consciousness of millions of people.
Bobby opens on November 17 in New York and Los Angeles.