Toronto's Sarah Gadon stars alongside James Franco in JFK saga '11.22.63'

TORONTO -- Sarah Gadon is far too young to have been around when former U.S. president John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, but it wasn't hard for the 28-year-old to become fascinated with the conspiracy theories that still live on.

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The Toronto-bred actress plays a 1960s librarian drawn into one of America's most controversial tragedies in "11.22.63", a eight-part time-travelling miniseries executive produced by "Star Wars" director J.J. Abrams and based on the 2011 Stephen King novel of the same name.

James Franco plays Jake Epping, a modern-day high school teacher who goes back in time to try to stop the shooting and change the course of history. Things quickly become complicated as he falls in love with Gadon's librarian, Sadie.

The whole operation is also threatened by the presence of Lee Harvey Oswald, not to mention the fact that the past itself doesn't seem to want to be changed.

The period drama was shot in Toronto and Dallas, and Gadon said filming in the very city that witnessed these events had a palpable effect.

"When we went to Dallas to shoot the series I went to the JFK museum and I learned a lot about the different conspiracies and it was incredible," said Gadon.

"We recreated the motorcade and it was actually really intense to be there."

Gadon said she was enthralled by the romantic arc of King's book and there's more to the show than a simple revisit of the oft-dissected historical event.

"They do have a sweeping classic romance and it's really beautiful and I think James did such a great job," said Gadon, whose other credits include "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," "Maps to the Stars" and "Cosmopolis."

"He's an incredible actor and it was really special to be able to work opposite him."

Gadon said Abrams came to set a few times, but was understandably busy with another project at the time.

"He was kind of making 'Star Wars' so he wasn't around all the time," she said. "But I think it has all the kind of classic American storytelling that he ... has made his name for."

"11.22.63" debuts in Canada on Super Channel on Feb. 17, two days after it hits the U.S. streaming service Hulu on President's Day.


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