Given director Chris Columbus‘s well-known tendency to go soft or sentimental, it’s hard to see how his forthcoming biopic about Robert F. Kennedy‘s 1968 presidential run, based on Thurston Clarke‘s “The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America,” will be sufficiently averse to the natural heart-tug of Kennedy’s sad story. The telling of it has to be honest, specific, tough-minded. And I don’t think Columbus has the courage to trust the audience to feel it on their own.

The other pitfall is casting. It’s not the material or even the script (although that’s obviously an important factor) as much as the actor who’ll play RFK that will spell the difference between success or failure here. The actor would have to be someone in his early 40s with the right look, the right voice (without resorting to any kind of Bugs Bunny-with-a-Boston-accent delivery), the right size, the right hair…everything. It’s a very tall order.
It’s safe to presume that one of the emotional high points of the film will be the scene in which RFK announces the murder of Martin Luther King to a crowd in Indianapolis, Indiana. But if Columbus has any balls at all, he’ll figure a way to use a cut of “Wild Thing” by Senator Bobby. Seriously.