Most of the films coming up in this crammed awards season have people working overtime to make sure we know about them. One film from a major studio is conspicuously silent. Those of us who cover Hollywood know very little about "Zero Dark Thirty," because Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow has kept mum, with only a few leaks to EW from her and screenwriter Mark Boal. UPDATE: Check out the new trailer below.
And EW reveals that James Gandolfini plays head of the CIA Leon Panetta. The former chief of staff (under President Bill Clinton) oversaw the search for terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, whose capture is the subject of Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" followup. What we don't know, for example, is how much screen time Gandolfini, Joel Edgerton, Mark Strong and Jessica Chastain get in the film. Look at IMDb. Gandolfini isn't even included in the cast, which have no parts listed. And Chastain can't discuss what role she plays. She has said that (like "Argo") the film harkens back to the great thrillers of the 70s. Or Emmy-winning "Homeland." This would make Gandolfini's third juicy role this year, along with "Not Fade Away" and "Killing Them Softly."
The reason for the veil of secrecy? Editor William Goldenberg--who has worked with Michael Mann ("The Insider"), Michael Bay ("Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon"), Gary Ross ("Seabiscuit") and Ben Affleck ("Argo") and is currently laboring away on "Zero Dark Thirty"--confirms that the movie was pushed back to December 19, well after the November election, so that it would stay outside the political fray. After all, President Obama is taking credit for successfully taking down the terrorist leader. And conservatives have criticized the Obama administration for giving the filmmakers too much access to classified materials. In other words: as soon as the election is over we will hear a lot more about this movie. It is poised to break out big time at the end of the year--along with Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained."