February 12, 2016
In the new Hulu eight-part series “11.22.63,” Jake Epping, a high school teacher travels back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963–and attempt to rewrite history.
James Franco stars as Epping, who aims to identify and stop the assassin and perhaps solve–or prevent–one of the 20th century’s most enduring mysteries. The time-traveling, sci-fi series is the creation of author Stephen King and executive producer J.J. Abrams.
The production filmed mostly in Toronto, but returned to Dallas’ Dealy Plaza for crucial scenes. Costume designer Roland Sanchez pored over details to capture the feeling of the history-making moment when President Kennedy’s motorcade was fired upon.
“We recreated every single character from the Zapruder film,” said Sanchez referring to the home-movie footage captured by Abraham Zapruder, a motorcade bystander. “For Americans, and a lot of the world, these people are steeped in history. They are iconic. I think it is only fair and just to recreate exactly the images we know of these people,” he said. “We painstakingly went through photos to recreate all of these things.”
The pink skirt suit and pillbox hat that Jacqueline Kennedy wore in Dallas may be one of the most photographed of any First Lady’s ensemble. It’s also one of the most copied.
“You go through costume rental houses and there are those pink suits they rent out for Halloween,” Sanchez said, who with his assistant, set out to find the right pink boucle fabric that would do the suit justice. “We were on the hunt for a few weeks. You couldn’t tell when you’re looking at things on the Internet. You sort of hope it’s going to be good when you get it.” He found a pink boucle by Chanel in London that was, he said, “stunning.”
Getting the fabric from the authentic source was important for the suit’s veracity.
“Chanel had given the OK to give the pattern to an American designer, because Jackie wanted the suit to be made in America by an American shop,” Sanchez said. “But it was Chanel’s design and fabric.”
“It sort of haunted us for a couple of weeks to get it right. I was blessed with an amazingly talented tailor up there. He was so happy and inspired by that challenge,” said Sanchez.
Though the suit is one of the most famous in American history, it doesn’t play a key role in the film. A background actor wears it during the Dealy Plaza scene. Sanchez had to build it without knowing who would finally be wearing it when the production moved to Dallas.
Though he worked with many unknowns, the suit matched his expectations: “It was one of those things when everything fell perfectly into place.”
“11.22.63” premieres on Monday on Hulu.