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

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist June 16, 2014 at 4:14PM

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.
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Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal on the set of "Zero Dark Thirty."
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. 


This article is related to: Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Megan Ellison, Todd Field