Daniel Webber has been wowing audiences all season long with his stellar performance as Lee Harvey Oswald — the man charged with shooting and killing President John F. Kennedy in 1963 in Dallas, Texas — on Hulu’s original series “11.22.63.” The 27-year-old actor spent the months prior to filming getting inside the mind of his character through music, film, books and more — a process he told the International Business Times he was “thrilled” to be able to partake in.
Webber learned he’d landed the role two months before filming began and immediately dove into his research. He was aware that becoming Oswald would involve changing certain things about himself — mainly losing his accent and switching up his mannerisms — but there was much to learn about the Louisiana native, who became a household name after the assassination. Webber said he wanted to learn “about the whole story and whole time period as much as possible.” He studied what was going on politically and in pop-culture and tried to connect the dots to “get an understanding of where Lee was.” Thankfully there were countless public records available to him, revealing the types of books his character was reading at the time, and providing a glimpse into his fragile psyche.
“Something that was really important in the earlier days was learning about him and his relationship to his mother and how important it was for him in shaping who he was. I think in essence he really was a projection of his mother,” Webber said. “They were both really angry and grandiose and controlling. They were lost and restless and just had this yearning for something great.”
During his immersion, Webber was able to learn a lot about what made Oswald tick and how he managed to maintain the upper hand throughout much of his life — even in times of trouble. The young actor shared with IBT that, for him, perhaps the most interesting thing he learned was that Oswald was a master of manipulation. He often managed to get his way, which was “fascinating” for Webber.
“People don't know that when he defected to Russia he was rejected and to get his way he slit his wrists to try and commit suicide,” the “11.22.63” actor revealed. “Whether he was overwrought and decided, ‘Yeah, I want to end this,’ or it was a manipulative act those little things — how he could manipulate the system — that was fascinating.”
Just a few episodes remain in this season of “11.22.63.” The series premiered on Hulu on Feb. 15 and is based on the popular Stephen King novel by the same name. While it remains unclear whether the series will continue on for another season, Webber has plenty on his plate at the moment. In addition to starring in “11.22.63” he's been working on a coming of age story, titled “Teenage Kicks.” In the film he plays Dan O’Connel, who is best friends with Mik (Miles Szanto). The pair have been close all their lives, but as high school comes to a close their relationship becomes more and more strained.
“It’s a coming of age story about two best friends,” Webber explained. “You see the disintegration of their friendship and their relationship. They come out the other side two very different people, but stronger in a sense. They both come out having learned something about who they are and life outside of high school.”
It has yet to be announced when “Teenage Kicks” will be released. The finale episode of “11.22.63” will be available for streaming on Hulu April 4.