“I think it’s the story of a lifetime,” director Kathryn Bigelow told ABC‘s “Nightline,” and there really is no other way to put it. The result of years of intensive, mostly under the radar, highly classified work, the nation — and world — were shocked when in May of 2011, Barack Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed as the result of a clandestine operation. It helped close the book on a painful memory in the American psyche, and in many ways forced a new look at the war on terror. And while you might know how it ends, you don’t know how it happened.
Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal chatted with the network news show about the film, in a pretty nice segment that includes a healthy amount of new scenes from the film and behind-the-scenes footage. “Nightline” broaches the accusations that have been leveled against the filmmakers that they were working with classified material, and it’s something they outright deny. “I certainly did a lot of homework, but I never asked for classified material. To my knowledge I never received any,” Boal said. And indeed he chalks up the realism in the film down to doing the kind of work he did as a journalist.
“I picked up the phone and started calling sources and asking them what they knew and taking referrals and knocking on doors and really approached it as comprehensively as I could,” Boal said about what he did when he learned Osama Bin Laden was dead, something that greatly reshaped the film he and Bigelow were already planning about the hunt for the terrorist leader. “It was all based on first hands accounts so it really felt very vivid and very vital and very, very immediate and visceral of course, which is very exciting as a film maker,” Bigelow said.