Chappaquiddick Movie Gives Mary Jo Kopeckne a Voice

A movie about a 1969 incident that took the life of 28 year old, Mary Jo Kopeckne, and nearly destroyed Senator Ted Kennedy’s political career, opens Friday in theaters.

Chappaquiddick, a film produced, in part by Mark Ciardi, provides the viewer with more information about Mary Jo Kopeckne, who was from Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.

“The family reached out to us when they knew we were putting the movie together and we arranged for a screening for them in Wilkes Barre in March. They got back to us and were incredibly appreciative of how we portrayed Mary Jo. She finally had a voice and with the Me-Too movement there’s been a lot of talk that she has voice in this incident and again, they were appreciative of how we portrayed her, smart, funny and a real human being, rather than just a name associated with a word.”

Mary Jo Kopeckne was a passenger in a car driven by Senator Ted Kennedy on Chappaquiddick Island that crashed off a bridge on July 18th, 1969. Ciardi adds, the movie shows how Ted Kennedy makes his way through that period, despite the fact that he failed to immediately get help for Mary Jo Kopeckne after his car crashed into the tidal inlet.

“Its spin, but the voters bought it. He had a long career in the Senate. It definitely cost him the Presidential election. There is, I wouldn’t say sympathy, but you get an understanding of the pressures and to realize what he did and I think that’s what makes it an interesting movie.”

Ciardi was a guest on WNPV’s Comment Please By Univest Tuesday.