By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist October 11, 2012 at 8:56AM
Finally securing its winter release spot as a compelling take on recent political and military events -- and not the piece of Obama propaganda as initially thought by watchdog groups -- Kathryn Bigelow's Osama bin Laden drama “Zero Dark Thirty” can now carry on being an actual piece of entertainment, which the first look at actor James Gandolfini's supporting role within the narrative certainly provides.
Gandolfini's part has been somewhat hush-hush among the casting proceedings, but now we have a good glimpse at the actor's role as current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who headed up the CIA when the bin Laden mission was underway. A law school student turned Army intelligence officer, Panetta went on to serve both in Congress and as Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff, and clad in a suit, glasses, and lovely head of hair in the film's publicity still (via EW), Gandolfini certainly looks the part.
Bigelow's film will feature Panetta as only a fraction of the bigger picture however, as the film depicting the build up to May 2011's bin Laden raid also includes Jessica Chastain as a CIA analyst, Joel and Nash Edgerton as SEAL Team Six soldiers, and the team of Mark Strong and Kyle Chandler playing CIA officials. Jason Clarke, Harold Perrineau, Edgar Ramirez, Jennifer Ehle, and Mark Duplass round out the cast as well, and look forward to seeing all these great faces soon, as they'll likely pop up in future trailers and stills before “Zero Dark Thirty” hits theaters December 19th.