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Kathryn Bigelow Opens Up About 'Zero Dark Thirty,' Torture and Truth on TIME Cover Story and Colbert Report

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood January 24, 2013 at 3:02PM

In addition to her appearance on the Colbert Report (watch below), "Zero Dark Thirty" director Kathryn Bigelow is the center of this week's TIME cover story, "Art of Darkness." The director, who rarely speaks with the press, is opening up to deal with and defend herself against the controversy surrounding "ZDT" and its torture debate.
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Zero Dark Thirty 2

On accuracy and ambiguity: "Where there’s clarity in the world, there’s clarity in the film. Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan. That’s clarity. And where there’s ambiguity in the world, there’s ambiguity in the film."

Boal: "If the general impression you get from this movie is that torture played a role in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, that’s because that’s true. That’s a fact. It doesn’t mean they had to torture people or that torture is necessary or torture is morally right."

Chastain: “I believe that was Kathryn’s intention when she made the film—to open a conversation. She ends it with an un­answered question, Where do you want to go? She’s asking the audience, Where have we been, and where do we go from here?”

Dafoe: “She’s attracted to something instinctively, and then she researches it, and her research becomes an adventure. In the late ’70s there was a lot of interest in rockabilly and appreciation of ’50s outlaw culture, so she would go to clubs to scout people for their look and style, and worry about coaxing a performance out of them later. She was so interested in the slang and the idiom and the ritual of that world, which wasn’t really of her own experience. And she’s still interested in learning the language and rituals of hidden worlds. Just look at her titles—Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty. It’s like coded language and she’s cracking the code.”

This article is related to: Kathryn Bigelow, News, Politics, Jessica Chastain, News, Media, Interviews


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.