ZERO DARK THIRTY Director & Screenwriter Discusses the Film's Premise & Politics
Published: August 8, 2012 - 11:05am
Academy Award winning director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) and Academy Award winning screenwriter Mark Boal are prepping to release their next project Zero Dark Thirty, which will tell of the US government's operation to hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden, this December.
Zero Dark Thirty chronicles the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. Director Kathryn Bigelow explains how the significance of the film's title fits into it'sstory: "It’s a military term for 30 minutes after midnight, and it refers also to the darkness and secrecy that cloaked the entire decade long mission."
Screenwriter Mark Boal re-teams with his Bigelow on this film, and recently commented on why he chose another military-themed project to follow the success of The Hurt Locker, which won the duo Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture:
"I’m fascinated by people who dedicate themselves to really difficult and dangerous things for the greater good. I think they’re heroic and I’m intrigued by them. I’m fascinated by the world they inhabit. I personally want to know how they caught bin Laden. All I can do is hope that it interests other people."
Similarly to The Hurt Locker Boal -- a former war correspondent -- and Bigelow chose to stay away from the political side of things with their storytelling here. "There’s no political agenda in the film. Full stop. Period. A lot of people are going to be surprised when they see the film. For example, the president is not depicted in the movie. He’s just not in the movie."
Boal also revealed that chose to rewrite the film's script completely instead of tacking on a new ending after last year's very public announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed by US operators in Pakistan:
"But a lot of the homework I’d done for the first script and a lot of the contacts I made, carried over. The years I had spent talking to military and intelligence operators involved in counterterrorism was helpful in both projects. Some of the sourcing I had developed long, long ago continued to be helpful for this version."
Begelow, who aside from The Hurt Locker has directed such popular films as Point Break and K-19: The Widowmaker, says it's hard to pinpoint exactly what genre Zero Dark Thirty falls int. “I guess you could call it many things. It’s a thriller, it’s a drama, it’s a mystery, it’s historical, it’s one of the great stories of our time. It traces the anatomy of the decade long hunt for the world’s most wanted man.”
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow based off a script by Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty stars Joel Edgerton, Frank Grillo, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Edgar Ramirez, Mark Strong, Chris Pratt, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Ehle, Nash Edgerton and Harold Perrineau Jr. Columbia Pictures has recently attained US distribution rights for the film while Universal Pictures has secured several international release locations. Zero Dark Thirty will hit theaters on December 19th, 2012.