For the CNN Original Films documentary series American Dynasties: The Kennedys, Lizzie Fox, vice president, Original Series, CNN explains that the producers “decided to focus on the family dynamic.
“There’s a strong fascination with this family, and we thought, what’s an original way to cover them?” she says. “We were looking at moments in history where you might not know what happened behind the closed doors and how the relationships of the family members motivated many historical moments.”
The Original Series team worked with production partners Raw to show “family footage that had either never been seen before or showing it in a different sort of perspective,” Fox continues. “And I think that Raw and the archivists have done a fantastic job in making it feel like an intimate portrait of the family.
“If there are archives for our nonfiction storytelling, the more the better. I think a lot of networks use re-creation in a way that’s a little too intentional, and it takes you out of the moment. And we always say, if there are archives, that’s what we want to show, because why wouldn’t you want to capture that and have it on-screen?
Read more: CNN Breaks New Ground With The Kennedys
“For instance, and we try to cover certain events in history in a different way, and I think one of the prime examples is when J.F.K. is assassinated,” Fox continues. “Oftentimes in these documentaries, you see what happens in Dallas. What we’ve done here is, rather than going through the journey that people have seen before, we cut to Hickory Hill, and the phone call that Bobby Kennedy gets when he was told that his brother had been shot. It’s a really chilling moment in that you’re getting a new perspective.”
“We focused on what happened, and because we were able to interview people who had relationships with the Kennedys, they had intimate knowledge to give their account,” Fox says.