Award-winning director Oliver Stone, speaking to journalists before his presentation this evening at Kent State University's 43rd commemoration of the , would not say if he's interested in making a movie about the Vietnam war protests that ended in tragedy.
Instead, when asked whether he was considering such a project, Stone repeated a line he told a Plain Dealer reporter this week when asked about a possible movie about the shootings that killed four and wounded nine on campus.
"I can't make them all," Stone said.
The acclaimed director was one of two big-name speakers who visited Kent this weekend for the annual commemoration, which this year included the formal dedication of the May 4 Visitors Center.
Stone said he gets approached by many people with requests for movie topics.
"No, I can't make them all. It’s an honor to be approached. But I learn a lot, and I learn much more about everything," he said.
Stone spent a fair amount of time touring the site of the shootings and strolling through the visitors center, which includes a film detailing the shootings that incorporates footage shot that day 43 years ago.
In particular, Stone, who served in Vietnam and spent time as an infantryman, asked university officials to rewind and replay specific segments of the short film that is played in the second of three galleries in the museum.
"I was curious, as an infantryman I’m always curious how the order to fire was given or not given, how soldiers looked when they fired," he said. "It’s ironic that not all of them are firing, that some of them are holding back. It seems pretty sloppy. At the same time, given that they were kneeling three or four minutes before, it seems very strange because they were in a kneeling position, aiming. And what happened afterward where they don’t kneel, they just turn and fire."
For the past five years, Stone has been working on a book and documentary series titled The Untold History of the United States, which, as he told the Huffington Post, for some will help you "re-examine what you thought you knew."
The book, however, pays little mention to the Kent State shootings.
Stone said he's hopeful students who hear his presentation this evening will remember what the deaths of the four students shot 43 years ago meant at the time to the country.
"These four kids meant a lot to the conscious of this country," he said. "They died for a reason: sacrifice. And that has to be remembered. Because if you say no one was responsible and it was just a misunderstanding, it’s an insult to their memory."