Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics First Look: Matthew McConaughey & Ken Watanabe In Gus Van Sant’s ‘Sea Of Trees’ First Look: Matthew McConaughey & Ken Watanabe In Gus Van Sant’s ‘Sea Of Trees’ Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made Oscars: Dust Settles On The Fall Festivals With No Clear Best Picture Front-Runner (Yet) Oscars: Dust Settles On The Fall Festivals With No Clear Best Picture Front-Runner (Yet) Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 Watch: NYFF Trailer Has Snippets Of ‘Inherent Vice’ Footage For Those Checking For Trailers Several Times A Day Watch: NYFF Trailer Has Snippets Of ‘Inherent Vice’ Footage For Those Checking For Trailers Several Times A Day TIFF Review: 'Still Alice' Starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin & Kate Bosworth TIFF Review: 'Still Alice' Starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin & Kate Bosworth Review: 'The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Them' Starring Jessica Chastain & James McAvoy Review: 'The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Them' Starring Jessica Chastain & James McAvoy Jason Reitman Calls ‘Labor Day’ "A Misguided Effort" Jason Reitman Calls ‘Labor Day’ "A Misguided Effort" David Fincher & James Ellroy Plotting 1950s Crime Noir Series For HBO David Fincher & James Ellroy Plotting 1950s Crime Noir Series For HBO The Best And Worst Of The 2014 Venice Film Festival The Best And Worst Of The 2014 Venice Film Festival Chris Evans On His Directorial Debut ‘Before We Go,’ Filming In New York, & ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Chris Evans On His Directorial Debut ‘Before We Go,’ Filming In New York, & ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ TIFF Review: Liv Ullmann’s ‘Miss Julie’ Starring Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell & Samantha Morton TIFF Review: Liv Ullmann’s ‘Miss Julie’ Starring Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell & Samantha Morton Boardwalk Empire - Season 5 - Episode 1 Recap: “Golden Days For Boys & Girls” Boardwalk Empire - Season 5 - Episode 1 Recap: “Golden Days For Boys & Girls” TIFF Review: Kevin Smith's Horror Story 'Tusk,' Starring Justin Long, Michael Parks & Johnny Depp TIFF Review: Kevin Smith's Horror Story 'Tusk,' Starring Justin Long, Michael Parks & Johnny Depp The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

New Documents Give Details Of Kathryn Bigelow & Mark Boal's Not-So-Nefarious Access To CIA Files For 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Indiewire By Charlie Schmidlin | Indiewire August 30, 2012 at 11:20AM

“There's no political agenda in the film. Full stop. Period.” As much as screenwriter Mark Boal may wish his words would guide public knowledge about the Kathryn Bigelow-directed film, “Zero Dark Thirty” -- which details the U.S. government's raid on Osama bin Laden as depicted through Boal's script -- the truth of its subject matter and an election year simply makes that impossible. Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch has been at the forefront of proving Boal's statement wrong, but after requests made in January were finally approved for CIA and Department of Defense documents detailing their involvement to be released, the results finally paint a picture more of minor fandom than political maneuvering.
2
Zero Dark Thirty

“There's no political agenda in the film. Full stop. Period.” As much as screenwriter Mark Boal may wish his words would guide public knowledge about the Kathryn Bigelow-directed film, “Zero Dark Thirty” -- which details the U.S. government's raid on Osama bin Laden as depicted through Boal's script -- the truth of its subject matter and an election year simply makes that impossible. Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch has been at the forefront of proving Boal's statement wrong, but after requests made in January were finally approved for CIA and Department of Defense documents detailing their involvement to be released, the results finally paint a picture more of minor fandom than political maneuvering.

Spanning across four large digital documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the fruits of Judicial Watch's labor were to supposedly show how “the Obama administration granted Boal and Bigelow unusual access to agency information in preparation for their film,” according to the organization. Through the words and actions of government media relations officials though, what's emphasized instead are the actions taken by the government to learn about the then-varied bin Laden projects in development and conversations with the team behind “The Hurt Locker,” a film that officials visibly state affection for in the documents, and what were the best and most intriguing methods of doing so.

That's not to say there weren't thorough exchanges of information between filmmakers and government. Boal is noted as interviewing both CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell as well as the translator present at the May 2, 2011 raid that killed bin Laden, and going to CIA and DOD sources for other minor specifics, such as floor schematics accurately matching bin Laden's hideout (which the CIA confirmed). There also exists perhaps some preferential bias from CIA officials toward the project with “the most money behind it, and two Oscar winners on board,” extending further to Bigelow (whose voice remains disappointingly scarce throughout) and her appealing involvement with military charity Joining Forces.

Nowhere though are any exchanges confirming Judicial Watch's claim of rule-breaking, or at least not on the government's end. In a blatant case of throwing a colleague under the bus, New York Times national security writer Mark Mazzetti leaked to the CIA another column about the bin Laden film from writer Maureen Dowd, which took a swipe at Obama's administration for having “outsourced the job of manning up the president's image to Hollywood.” Even though Boal has already stated Obama is never even depicted, and the release date for “Zero Dark Thirty” has wisely been pushed from its previous October bow to after Election Day in December, that opinion will continue to remain.

Stopping just short of exclaiming “Blue Steel” to be an underrated masterpiece, the star-struck exchanges (complete with emoticons) between government officials and Bigelow/Boal do mildly raise cause for alarm, but any actual over-sharing of information on either the CIA or DOD's part remains notably absent in the documents -- and therefore still plenty exposed to politically minded accusations. For now though, “Zero Dark Thirty” remains shrouded behind a hint-filled teaser and a massive cast list, including Joel Edgerton, Jessica Chastain, Edgar Ramirez, Kyle Chandler, Mark Strong, Chris Pratt, Jason Clarke, Harold Perrineau, Nash Edgerton, Jennifer Ehle, Fares Fares, and so we'll have to wait until December 19th to see the extent of Bigelow and Boal's impressive research. [THR/EW]

This article is related to: Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal

E-Mail Updates


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.