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Bigelow and Boal Chase Ripped-from-Headlines Bergdahl Movie--As Do Fox Searchlight and Todd Field

by Anne Thompson
June 16, 2014 5:28 PM
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Kathryn Bigelow
Bowe Bergdahl

During the 2012/2013 marketing swing on "Zero Dark Thirty," for whatever reason, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal tried to separate themselves as distinct entities. She was the director who collaborated with him as her writing and producing partner. And they didn't want to be seen as a romantic couple, either. 

Recently, when "Zero Dark Thirty" backer, Annapurna chief Megan Ellison, announced that she was backing  Page One, a new production company to be run by Boal, Bigelow's name was conspicuously missing. But when the projects were revealed, she and Boal were working on something together after all. Well, now they're actively pursuing something they'd been tracking for some time, another ripped-from-the-headlines movie, this time about rescued POW Bowe Bergdahl. And they are in a race to beat out others who are also in hot pursuit of the unfolding story: Fox Searchlight and Todd Field ("Little Children"). 

These filmmakers will be chasing the story of exactly what happened to the Army sergeant who left his post in Afghanistan and was captured by the Taliban. Fox Searchlight, reports Deadline, has acquired late Rolling Stones reporter Michael Hastings' Rolling Stone investigation of Bergdahl, "America’s Last Prisoner Of War," for "In the Bedroom" director Todd Field. After Hastings profiled Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal, he had to resign. 

Presumably Boal is reporting on Bergdahl--how was he captured by the Taliban and held prisoner for five years? This is what happened with "Zero Dark Thirty," when their long investigation into the hunt for Osama bin Laden took a sudden turn when he was assassinated. The movie was so fresh in fact that it kicked up a political firestorm when three Senators came after the filmmakers for celebrating the efficacy of torture in the ultimate demise of bin laden. The critics' darling did better at the box office than with Liberal Oscar voters; Bigelow was snubbed in the Best Director category.

This story is packed with juicy details. Home-schooled in Idaho, before he joined the Army Bergdahl attempted to sign up with the French Foreign Legion and hung out at a Buddhist monastery. He spent five years as the only imprisoned U.S. soldier until reports of his bad health led President Obama to approve a trade for five Taliban officers at Guantanamo Bay. This proved to be a tendentious decision. 


  • jfc | June 16, 2014 6:10 PMReply

    Meagan Ellison has really earned her stripes in the biz. Can you imagine how hard it must have been for the daughter of the 5th richest man in America to break into the film business? I mean lets face it, with a mere 51 billion dollar safety net, she still took a chance. She went for it. That's courage folks.

  • Brian | June 17, 2014 11:33 AM

    I grew up poor and if I suddenly found myself with enough money to finance films, they'd probably be kung fu films and hiphop musicals. And "childish, superhero" stuff. Certainly nothing serious or "mature." Those who are born rich often have a greater sense of social obligation, what is called "noblesse oblige." As W.C. Fields once said in response to that notion, "We have acrobats in our circus." ;D

  • Ramzi Kibbi | June 17, 2014 5:51 AM

    I'd rather have a rich person use his wealth for good purposes rather than waste them all on shoes and clothes.

  • Incremental Jones | June 16, 2014 8:02 PM

    Why the sarcasm? She's produced good, mature films, instead of childish, superhero stupidity. We should all be glad she's around.

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