In the opening moments of the thriller-cum-action drama “Zero Dark Thirty,” the picture displays text onscreen that reads, “based on firsthand accounts of actual events.” “I don’t want to play fast and loose with history,” Mark Boal, the screenwriter of the film, told the New York Times about his in-depth research into the movie’s story: the Seal Team Six hunt and elimination of Osama Bin Laden. “Zero Dark Thirty” — a military term for thirty minutes after midnight — reunites the Oscar-winning team of director-producer Kathryn Bigelow and writer-producer Boal (who brought you “The Hurt Locker“) for the story of one of history’s greatest manhunts.
“My sole focus was to try and bring what Mark reported to the screen as faithfully as I could,” Bigelow said, echoing her writer’s sentiments. But if you’ll recall, in its early stages, Bigelow and Boal were planning on, what the Times called, a “more conventional action film.” One that was about the military’s pursuit of Bin Laden in Afghanistan and Pakistan post 9/11. That all changed on May 2, 2011, when under the CIA’s authority, Seal Team 6 killed Osama bin Laden in a raid at his compound in Pakistan.
Boal and Bigelow scrambled to change gears and make more of a real-time behind-the-scenes drama of this event (which got them into hot water last year when politicians and lawmakers accused the Obama administration of sharing classified information with the production and using the film as a campaigning tool for the President). And in an interview with Entertainment Weekly earlier this week, Bigelow and Boal suggested they might be interested in revisiting that story one day. Though probably not any time soon, nor next. “Yeah, I think so. Why not? But I think the last thing [either of us] wants to do right now is talk about making another movie,” Boal said, the film only completed a few short weeks ago under a hurried schedule. Bigelow only offered that she “possibly” may be interested in finishing that abandoned project.
Regardless of whether we see that iteration or not, “Zero Dark Thirty” is only a few short weeks away (and even less for press). The picture stars Jessica Chastain as a CIA intelligence operative, and the ensemble also co-stars Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Ehle, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler, and Edgar Ramirez. Additional names featured in the drama include Chris Pratt, James Gandolfini, Mark Duplass and more.