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'Zero Dark Thirty' Duo Kathryn Bigelow & Mark Boal Planning Film On Controversial POW Bowe Bergdahl

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by Oliver Lyttelton
June 16, 2014 4:14 PM
7 Comments
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Sony Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal on the set of "Zero Dark Thirty."

Update: Looks like Bowe Bergdahl might already be the new Truman Capote: Deadline already report that a rival project to Bigelow & Boal's is in the offing, with Fox Searchlight acquiring the rights to "America's Last Prisoner Of War," an article by late Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings about Bergdahl. "In The Bedroom" and "Little Children" helmer Todd Field is involved, presumably as a writer/director, though we hope he shoots his adaptation of Jess Walter's brilliant novel "Beautiful Ruins," set to star Imogen Poots, first. Read the original article here.

Well, if there was ever any doubt, we can say now firmly that Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal are not afraid of controversy. The director/writer pair had a certain amount of backlash from "The Hurt Locker," but nothing compared to their follow-up "Zero Dark Thirty" — willfully misread by some as being pro-torture, and well-researched to the extent that some wanted to investigate where their sources come from.

But that may have been the tip of the iceberg compared to what might come next, as Deadline report that the pair, through Boal's new Megan Ellison-backed company Page One, are planning to make a movie focusing on the story of Bowe Bergdahl. In case you've been in a coma for the last couple of weeks, Bergdahl is the U.S. soldier who was kidnapped by the Taliban after wandering off his base, and held captive for five years.

Reportedly Boal and Bigelow have been looking into the case for years, but the announcement surely comes in response to recent weeks, in which Bergdahl was freed in exchange for five Taliban fighters, causing an uproar among the right-wing, who then subsequently made claims that Bergdahl was a traitor who'd attempted to desert and, in the particularly crazy corners of the internet, even that he was a "Homeland"-style sleeper agent.

The truth is likely not as exotic, but Bergdahl, who returned to the U.S. just a few days ago, clearly has questions to answer, and his colorful background (homeschooled by anti-war religious parents, spending time in a Buddhist monastery) only increases the suspicion in the eyes of some. As such, this is a story without an ending at present, so it's hard to say whether this or "The True American," the other Bigelow project that's to star Tom Hardy as 'American Terrorist' Mark Stroman, comes first. But either way, it's good to see the pair back together and on the hunt for killer material like this. 


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7 Comments

  • brandi | June 17, 2014 8:11 PMReply

    "misread as pro-torture"
    okay lol

  • Logan | June 16, 2014 5:35 PMReply

    "and well-researched to the extent that some wanted to investigate where their sources come from" - lol, yeah, "well-researched," that's a nice way to put it. You could also say that Bigelow/Boal were given exclusive access to select information by the CIA because they understood that the film would depict them in a positive light (which it did). CIA documents released since the controversy show that the ZDT team were only too happy to change whatever the Agency wanted, without a word of protest. Government imbedded filmmaking at its worst (and this was a movie praised for its "objectivity"?).

  • Jonathan Cribbs | June 17, 2014 8:26 AM

    Uh, your claim that "Zero Dark Thirty" portrayed the American government in a "positive light" is an interpretation, not fact. It's pretty easy to make the case that the film subtly undermines and criticizes everything we did over there. It just picks its moments and makes its points quietly. I watched Jessica Chastain in a number of interviews and wondered if she picked up on the insanity of some of the things she said in that movie. (Things that were deliberately written to make points.)

  • james | June 16, 2014 4:43 PMReply

    Here is a better headline for this piece:

    Hollywood's War-worshipping Establishment Propaganda Tools Stoke The Flames of Anti-American Hatred Again.

  • jfc | June 16, 2014 5:02 PM

    Leni...um..I mean, Kathryn Bigelow has become the high priestess of the Military Industrial Cineplex.

  • jfc | June 16, 2014 4:18 PMReply

    Oh god...here comes Leni Riefenstahl again. I assume she's waiting for the CIA to finish the script before commencing casting?

  • Markunator | June 17, 2014 2:57 AM

    Anyone who calls her Leni Riefenstahl has no right to have an opinion about anything.

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