Zero Dark Thirty trailer. Bigelow and Boal talk secrets
A trailer, albeit a short and teaser filled trailer, has arrived for Zero Dark Thirty. Now you might not know what that is yet but it's the film directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal about the ten year hunt for Osama Bin Laden and the final events of the 2nd of May when Navy SEALs entered his compound in Pakistan and killed him.
Initially the script was ready to go some years ago, set in the mountains of Afghanistan in 2001, however when real world events turned around their story they almost went back to the drawing board. With the release of the trailer writer and director have spoken about the film that is draped in real life secrecy and controversy.
The initial script was to tell the story of the siege of the mountainous region of Tora Bora along the Afghanistan border where Osama Bin Laden and many of the Taliban terrorists were believed to be hiding out, and it was heading towards production fast when in May 2011 the world was shocked to discover that American intelligence had found where Bin Laden had been hiding and sent in a team to take the compound and capture or kill the terrorist.
"The minute we heard the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed, what we had been working on became history...As interesting a story as that would have been to tell, the news re-directed our entire efforts. It changed the movie idea forever."
That meant a lot of work for Boal, he had a completed script ready for filming and it was outdated, although his contacts and a lot of the building blocks for the initial story remained intact, he still had a lot of work to do.
"The years I had spent talking to military and intelligence operators involved in counterterrorism was helpful in both projects. Some of the sourcing I had developed long, long ago continued to be helpful for this version."
When he says "version" he really means a mammoth piece of work, building the ten year story and finding out about some of the most secretive operations in the last decade. That, Boal says, gave them a lot of work to do and a lot of information to work through, not all of it true.
"I was interested in the challenge of trying to portray this 10-year - more than 10-year - really complicated hunt involving all sorts of different agencies and different people, and finding a narrative through-line."
Bigelow is very complimentary of the work he did developing the story and building the truth, or perhaps a truth, from all the information he uncovered.
"There are pieces of this puzzle that you can only discern through in-depth research...Research on this movie was exhaustive and thorough and unbelievably time consuming, and it was Mark's investigative skills and experience in reporting in this space that enabled us to navigate the sheer complexity of the pursuit."
It's a complex film indeed, and hugely ambitious. Bigelow explains what draws her to this subject matter and what the focus of the film actually is.
"I'm fascinated by people who dedicate themselves to really difficult and dangerous things for the greater good...I think they're heroic and I'm intrigued by them. I'm fascinated by the world they inhabit. I personally want to know how they caught bin Laden. All I can do is hope that it interests other people."
Zero Dark Thirty looks like it's going to follow in the same vein as The Hurt Locker (Filmstalker review) but have it will take leaps and bounds ahead of it as it tries to encompass so much more. This isn't just about the boots on the ground but about all the people involved in finding the man including the much ignored analysts.
What is probably more surprising than anything though is that this film will not be political, or as apolitical as possible, Boal says of the script and the film:
"There's no political agenda in the film. Full stop. Period...A lot of people are going to be surprised when they see the film. For example, the president is not depicted in the movie. He's just not in the movie."
As to who is in the film well that's a little uncertain. Oh of course we know the cast list and through the article in Entertainment Weekly we now know some of the roles the actors are playing:
Kyle Chandler plays the CIA's top official in Pakistan. Nash and Joel Edgerton play members of the Navy SEAL Team Six who entered the compound of Bin Laden in Pakistan, perhaps flying a Blackhawk helicopter. Mark Strong plays a CIA analyst. Other intelligence members are played by Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Harold Perrineau, Edgar Ramirez, Jennifer Ehle and Mark Duplass.
While we get some insight into who the actors will be playing Bigelow is cagey about if they are playing the actual characters from real life or if they are dramatised replacements, and come to that she's reluctant to talk about how much of it is a dramatisation and how much isn't. She prefers to wait until the film is out, perhaps that's because the less said the less chance there is of the government trying to stop or censor the film before it's released, or perhaps it's just another way of building hype on the project.
The two throughout the interview are very guarded of their sources and how they came about the information in the film, stating no comment to direct questions and moving the conversation on without answering, which they have every right to and helps build the intrigue on the film, after all they've already faced some stern investigation as to how they discovered some of their information.
I'm not sure how much of this is real and how much is tying in with the marketing campaign, after all you just have to look at the trailer to see how it is playing off of the secretive allure of the story with the black marker covering and uncovering words and images throughout the trailer.
One thing is clear, this is an ambitious film and it's looking like an exciting one too. So let's have a look at what all the fuss is about. Before we do though, Bigelow explains the title of the film for the non-military among us:
"It's a military term for 30 minutes after midnight, and it refers also to the darkness and secrecy that cloaked the entire decade long mission."
She also goes on to describing the film itself although she isn't giving anything more away, or perhaps she is when she says:
"I guess you could call it many things. It's a thriller, it's a drama, it's a mystery, it's historical, it's one of the great stories of our time. It traces the anatomy of the decade long hunt for the world's most wanted man."
Here's the trailer for Zero Dark Thirty which comes through TrailerAddict:
Looks good doesn't it? Oh I know it's just a teaser and there's not a great deal of actual film footage yet, but that will come although amid hushed tones and redacted imagery I imagine.