An ad for The Kennedys, the controversial multi-million-dollar miniseries, flies by, splashed across a Toronto streetcar. Twenty-nine-year-old Toronto actor John White points at it over his shoulder with his thumb. “I know a guy in that!” he says.
It’s a day White never thought would come after the series, co-starring Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes, was dropped by the History Channel in the U.S. in January. An ambiguous statement described it as “not a fit for the History brand.” It went on to be picked up in over 50 countries. Today, White talks about History’s “shocking” decision.
Did you pick up anything from watching Greg Kinnear shooting? And did you watch Katie Holmes?
I met Katie Holmes early on. She was very low-maintenance, very quiet, and very sweet. Which is surprising, because you’re not sure what to expect with everything that people talk about. You think, oh, this person, I heard about that thing, but wait, I read that in a tabloid in a checkout line glancing over.
How did you find the costumes affected your role?
It was amazing. It was really interesting to put them on and see yourself grow a little closer in looks. The similarities are slowly being pushed closer together.
Was there a point where you realized there was a controversial aspect to this project?
I didn’t think it was going to be that controversial personally. Obviously there are stories: his infidelities, some of the pills and medication he had taken. I didn’t know how much of that was going to be portrayed in the series.
Where were you when you found out the History Channel wouldn’t be airing it?
I found out basically the same way everyone else did. I think it broke online first that History had shelved it for not being the right fit.
How did you react?
I was pretty shocked, I think like most people would be. Everyone worked really hard. Everyone did a lot of homework on the subject, you know? So to look down the barrel of a shotgun and think it might not ever air? Wow. Disappointing, right? Very disappointing and very shocking. But I think we all knew it was something special and it would find a home somewhere.
The first of the four-part mini-series The Kennedys airs Sunday, April 10 at 9ET/PT on History Television.