While details on Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow's in-producton project "Zero Dark Thirty" have been scarce, one piece of news broke recently: Ricky Sekhon, a British actor with two IMDB credits to his name, has been cast in the role of mastermind terrorist Osama bin Laden.
"The Hurt Locker" writer Mark Boal had to update the script when, on May 2, 2011, bin Laden was taken out by an elite team of Navy SEALs in Abbottabad, Pakistan in a covert operation ordered by President Barack Obama. Boal had been tracking this same team for the movie. Secretary of Defense and ex-CIA chief Leon Panetta denied recently that Bigelow and Boal were given access to classified information about the raid. They did get to interview top CIA officials.
Sekhon joins a huge and experienced cast: Jessica Chastain, Chris Pratt, Kyle Chandler, Mark Strong, Jennifer Ehle, Mark Duplass, and Joel and Nash Edgerton are among the names in Bigelow's ensemble. Sekhon does resemble the late Al Quaida leader, and reportedly lost 26 pounds to better match bin Laden's build.
The production is moving to London, and is still on schedule for a December release date which, after protests, Sony pushed back until after the presidential election. The likelihood is great that "Zero Dark Thirty" will be in the Oscar conversation, not only due to the major talent involved, but because it is the follow-up film of the first woman to win the best director Oscar.