New Film Will Resurrect Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick Scandal

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy leaves Dukes County court house surrounded by police after appearing at inquest Jan. 6, 1970 into the death of Mary Jo Kopechne who died in car driven by the senator when it plunged off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island at Martha's Vineyard into a pond on July 18, 1969. (AP Photo)

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy leaves Dukes County court house after a 1970 inquest into the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. (AP Photo)

BOSTON (AP) — A new feature film is in the works about the tragedy on Martha’s Vineyard nearly a half-century ago that rocked the Kennedy political dynasty.

Australian-born “Zero Dark Thirty” star Jason Clarke has been tapped to portray the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy in “Chappaquiddick” — the working title for the film.

Filming is slated to begin around Labor Day with a tentative release in late 2017.

Kennedy was driving a car that went off Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick in July 1969. His passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, was trapped in the car and died.

Kennedy, who died in 2009, described his failure to report the incident to police for nine hours as “indefensible.”

He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was given a two-month suspended sentence but the scandal forever tainted his political legacy, derailing his presidential bid against Jimmy Carter in 1980, even preventing him from becoming the Democrats’ Senate Whip in 1971.

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