Kathryn Bigelow’s Bin Laden Thriller Titled ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 8:48 pm,

kathryn bigelow bin laden thriller zero dark thirty Kathryn Bigelows Bin Laden Thriller Titled Zero Dark Thirty

Oscar-winning screenwriter Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) are no strangers to controversy and they’ve incited plenty already during pre-production on their new project: a dramatization of SEAL Team Six’s hunt for (and eventual killing of) terrorist figurehead Osama bin Laden, which had previously gone by the unofficial title of Kill bin Laden.

The film is now being referred to as Zero Dark Thirty – a military term for a non-specific hour when it is still dark outside – and has begun principal photography. Shooting is currently taking place in the Indian city of Chandigarh, which is “playing” the Pakistani city of Lahore (much to certain locals’ chagrin).

Reuters has reported that the right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) group staged a small, but vehement protest against the Zero Dark Thirty production earlier this week. Bigelow’s project seemingly has the Indian government’s support, so its filming timeline shouldn’t be thrown off schedule.

The VHP organization’s anger stems from the violent history between India and Pakistan, which have engaged in some three wars over the past 65 years (since India won its independence in 1947) and consider one another to be a “sworn enemy.”

Bigelow's 'Zero Dark Thirty' will detail the hunt for bin Laden

Bigelow had actually begun the casting process for Zero Dark Thirty prior to the official confirmation of bin Laden’s death back in May 2011. Boal’s early script draft for the project dealt with a previous, but unsuccessful U.S. military operation to track down and kill the Al Qaeda head when he was suspected to be seeking refuge in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. That screenplay was thereafter retooled in order to better incorporate the “happy ending” to the story and the re-started casting process really began to heat up around the last two months of 2011.

Zero Dark Thirty has now assembled a motley cast of credible character actors and actresses, which reportedly includes Joel Edgerton (Warrior), Oscar-nominee Jessica Chastain (The Help), Emmy-winner Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights), Jason Clarke (Public Enemies), Jennifer Ehle (Contagion), Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes), Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation), and Fares Fares (Safe House).

That said, the filmmakers have yet to release an official synopsis for Zero Dark Thirty – and none of the aforementioned thespians are technically “confirmed” to appear in the film. People like Édgar Ramírez (the upcoming Wrath of the Titans) and even Brad Pitt have also been either rumored or linked directly to the project in the past, but their potential involvement is even more of a dubious matter. Similarly, it’s not entirely clear what roles each respective cast member will be playing, as Bigelow’s movie is said to feature a combination of SEAL Team members, CIA operatives, and other related U.S. government official characters.

Actually, the “anonymous” casting process for Zero Dark Thirty has already been (half-jokingly) referred to as a “method casting” approach, as active-duty SEALs are required to keep their identities unknown to the public. Hence, the real-life SEALs who appeared in last month’s Act of Valor have essentially gone uncredited for their parts in that film.

Act of Valor Sniper Kathryn Bigelows Bin Laden Thriller Titled Zero Dark Thirty

A Sniper in 'Act of Valor'

Act of Valor has been widely praised for its highly-accurate portrayal of combat technics and largely realistic battle scenarios, but also heavily criticized for being a thematically-weak cinematic experience which appeals foremost (panders?) to those with previous military experience. The Hurt Locker, by comparison, has garnered numerous critical accolades and awards for being an intensely-constructed war thriller, but its depiction of U.S. soldiers (from how they dress to their behavior) has been dismissed by many combat veterans as laughably absurd at times.

That’s all to say, the bar has been raised for Bigelow and Boal to make Zero Dark Thirty a film that both marks a noteworthy improvement from The Hurt Locker in terms of its attention to detail, while also offering more complex characters and a nuanced narrative which thoughtfully touches on issues concerning the interaction between modern warfare and geo-political concerns (among other issues). Here’s to hoping the pair hit a home run with their latest collaboration.

Zero Dark Thirty remains scheduled to arrive in theaters around the U.S. on December 19th, 2012.

Source: Reuters 

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Im really excited for this movie! I haven’t seen act of valor yet but hurt locker was incredible!

    • This might be the coolest name ever for a movie.

    • I have to disagree. Hurt Locker was so overhyped. I thought it was a very dull film, for the most part. I have no idea why it was so overrated.

  2. Definately has potential

  3. I don’t get it. Why is the VHP protesting the movie’s production? The raid had nothing to do with India, right? And it made Pakistan look foolish and, even worse, in collusion with Al Qaeda. Shouldn’t the VHP be happy about that?

    • The main reason for the protest was that they were using pakistani flags during the shooting, and that of course is very offending to the Indians.

  4. Kill Bin Laden book was based on the U.S. Army’s Delta Force. Are they not including Delta Force in this movie since they have DEVGRU in it? I hope Bigelow doesn’t EFF it up!

    • Um Delta wasnt involved neither the reportetthey are putting in the movie.

    • umm, if you’re at all familiar with operation neptune spear, you would know that it was carried out by DEVGRU, not Delta. The tier one units are divided by area of operation, Delta is active Iraq, which is why they were tasked with capturing Saddam Hussein and killing his sons. DEVGRU is responsible for actions in and around Afganistan, which is why they undertook neptune spear.

  5. “Reuters has reported that the right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) group staged a small, but vehement protest against the Zero Dark Thirty production earlier this week. The project seemingly has the Indian government’s support, so its filming timeline shouldn’t be thrown off schedule.”

    That makes no sense. If the protesters have support of the government, you would expect that their activities WOULD interfere with the schedule.

    “The VHP organization’s anger stems from the violent history between India and Pakistan, which have engaged in some three wars over the past 65 years (since India won its independence in 1947) and consider one another to be a “sworn enemy.”

    Actually, (and I know it’s a nit-pick) it was the PARTITION into two countries, following independence when the wars began. Prior to that, they just murdered each other.

    • “Project” refers to Bigelow’s movie (not the protestors). Hence the comment about “its filming timeline.”

      I changed the wording a bit so as to not confuse anyone else.

    • Actually, you’re wrong..
      Before the partition happened.. There was no murdering between the people of Pakistan and India as it was 1 country and both fought together for Independence.
      It was only after India became Independent.. that the selfish motives of some horrible people came out and the country was divided into two.

      • I think it is pretty clear that I meant that the PEOPLE (not the nations) murdered each other. Muslims vs. Hindus. Occasionally Sikhs were targeted by one side or the other. And that’s been going on since the late 19th Century. It started as a political power dispute, because Muslims felt they were under-represented in the Indian National Congress.

        Independence and Partition didn’t cause it, but it exacerbated the situation. That they “fought together for Independence” means nothing. They fought together separately, not under some unified command, and there wasn’t actually much fighting in the military sense, until after Partition.

        • You couldn’t be more wrong.. I live in India and both of my grandfathers have been freedom fighters..
          The Sikhs were left with a moral dilemma because a majority of them resided in what is now Pakistan before the partition and had to move out after the riots broke out.

          There was no separate fight for the Independence where Muslims and Hindus fought separately and then because Muslims felt they were not being treated properly they were separated. Muhammad Ali Jinnah left the Indian National Congress after Mahatma Gandhi gave his support to the “KHILAFAT MOVEMENT”, something which Jinnah vehemently opposed.
          He then left the INC to become the president of the Muslim League.

          Later on he presented his “14 points” as a constitutional reform to the political parties in India.. all of which were rejected.
          It was after this that problems started arising and the decision of a separate nation PAKISTAN came into existence.

  6. “has been dismissed by many combat veterans as laughably absurd at times.”

    LMAO, I HAVE to use that to describe The Hurt Locker from now on… Laughably absurd, awesome… But accurate… I think you can accurately gauge who has any clue about the military and who doesn’t by asking them what they thought of The Hurt Locker…

  7. as much as im glad bin Laden is dead, i think this is a REALLY bad idea. hes dead. great. celebrate the day of his death like a holiday. but make a MOVIE out of it? this doesnt feel right

    • Welcome to America lol but seriously, yeah I can see where you are coming from. But the only thing you can do now is either complain about it on sites like this or just not watch the film.

    • Are there holidays for deaths?

      • There have been a couple of “Death Takes a Holiday” movies, so maybe. 😉

    • I see your point, iDance, but there have been movies about almost every dictator and madman that’s come along. It’s just what Hollywood does, I’m afraid.

      Sensationalism sells.

    • I don’t understand your concern. Do you fear the radical Islamic reaction? We need to challenge this fear, and they need to learn how to become civilized and tolerate other people’s point of views, rather than resort to violence and murder when “offended”.

  8. I rather see a movie about what happened at Tora Bora. I’m sorry but I still don’t buy that SEAL Team 6 took out Bin Laden. I think he’s been dead for quite some time and this was just a way for Obama to boost his approval rating. Lets see a movie about why Delta wasn’t allowed to take Bin Laden out when they had him. The author needs to get their information right. It’s not an unsuccessful operation when the ones who send you on the operation prevent you from completing it.

    • “I think he’s been dead for quite some time and this was just a way for Obama to boost his approval rating.”

      Seriously? And you think DEVGRU would go along with an election stunt?

      “It’s not an unsuccessful operation when the ones who send you on the operation prevent you from completing it.”

      Sure it is. You certainly wouldn’t call it “successful,” would you?

    • @spiro

      I think that’s a bit far-fetched. But I guess it’s about as far-fetched as Obama claiming that *HE* killed Osama Bin Laden…

      • Did he do that?
        Show me.

        • I’m sorry, didn’t mean to not praise your idol. I meant: Of course Obama was the reason they found Osama Bin Laden. It has nothing to do with the intelligence we’ve been actively gathering over the past decade and has nothing to do with interrogation techniques that Obama is trying to ban…

          Better? :-)

          • – Nope. Snarky ≠ Better.
            – You don’t know who my idols are, and probably never will.
            – And you still haven’t shown the basis for your outrageous statement.

            • I believe what he was attempting to convey, correctly, is that “the chosen one” had little to do with the death of Bin Laden, other than making the no-brainer decision to get him once he was found. The intelligence gathering had begun years before, under the former president, and the military, which is now being downsized under this president, accomplished the task.

            • Hey, I’m not going to do the work for you. It’s your fault you didn’t listen to his speaches after the fact…

              And I don’t need to try to argue over who is your idol or who isn’t. Just the fact that you’re getting so defensive the second someone says something not completely praising of this guy says enough…

              • In other words, you can’t back it up.
                Everything else is less than intelligent, and blah, blah, blah.

                • *sigh*

                  You probably consider yourself intelligent, yet you cannot spend 2 minutes to go to google and look up the transcript of his speech. FINE, but this is the last time, I’ll do the work for you, you win:

                  “And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.

                  Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

                  Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”

                  Those were HIS words. If you just go by that, you’d think that nothing was done before he took office…

                  I was just trying to be lazy, but ended up doing YOUR own research for you. If you want the facts, you have to be ready to do your own homework, don’t rely on others to do everything for you. I bet you just rely on what the news tells you and you leave it at that… Anyway, thanks for making me do your work for you… jerk… lol 😉

                    • LMAO, alright, so let’s ignore things like how “years” simply plural can mean the two years he has been in office, and let’s ignore all of these:

                      “And so shortly after taking office, *I* directed Leon Panetta…”

                      “*I* met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, *I* determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.”

                      “Today, at *my* direction…”

                      Of course you will not admit how his description made it seem like he did more work to get this done than the boots on the ground. Was that whole paragraph detailing his day to day dealings with the intelligence committee and all of those processes really necessary to get the point across? No, it wasn’t, it was put in for one reason and one reason alone, to embellish how involved he was with the outcome of the operation. He should have detailed all of the months of preparation the teams did, all of the training, the interrogation by our intelligence agents in the field that got the intelligence we needed. No, instead he details how much HE did to get this done… Compare this to how Bush addresses accomplishments done by our military like the capture of Hussein.

                      “Good afternoon. Yesterday, December the 13th, at around 8:30 p.m. Baghdad time, United States military forces captured Saddam Hussein alive. He was found near a farmhouse outside the city of Tikrit, in a swift raid conducted without casualties. And now the former dictator of Iraq will face the justice he denied to millions.”

                      A few paragraphs detailing how Hussein was a bad man, etc. etc. Then this about the capture:

                      “The success of yesterday’s mission is a tribute to our men and women now serving in Iraq. The operation was based on the superb work of intelligence analysts who found the dictator’s footprints in a vast country. The operation was carried out with skill and precision by a brave fighting force. Our servicemen and women and our coalition allies have faced many dangers in the hunt for members of the fallen regime, and in their effort to bring hope and freedom to the Iraqi people. Their work continues, and so do the risks. Today, on behalf of the nation, I thank the members of our Armed Forces and I congratulate ’em.”

                      Notice a difference? Was he like “Well, after meeting repeatedly with my secretary of defense, and after I spent hours looking over the intelligence, I made sure to quickly get the order out to carry out this operation that I felt was definitely needed. So at my direction, we finally got Hussein because I know that needs to be done.”

                      No, repeatedly, he made sure to give credit to everyone else… Not trying to defend Bush, he was a terrible public speaker, but you clearly see the difference in tone…

                      Or not, because you’re obviously fixed on a biased view and will never see it for what it is. No problem dude. And the jerk comment was a joke, about how you made me do the googling for you when you could have done it yourself like you should have… Relax.

                    • Old Rogue, you are correct in highlighting those comments, but what I recall about his speech is the arrogance and seemingly self-centeredness in which it was conveyed. This is admittedly a subjective assessment, but I and others have noticed the same trait in his other speeches, before Congress, at press briefings, etc. All he has to do, in order to assuage this somewhat, is not allude to “I”, but rather, reference “we”. During such a monumental event for America as the killing of Bin Laden, he could have certainly taken the great “pain” to do this, but that would have required some humility on his part…

                  • My impression, Ken, is that his staunchest supports do, in fact, rely solely on what he, as well as the mainstream media, informs them. They have an inherent bias or prejudice in this regard, and many think the rest of us, at best, ignorant or naive, and at worst, bigoted, racist, or evil. It is truly a sad state of affairs, but such is politics. I have no doubt that, if the worst happens in the world, such as Iran getting a nuclear bomb, or our country going bankrupt, or people here rioting in the streets for their “entitlements” (like in Greece), somehow, he will continue to avoid responsibility, and if fact, succeed, to a large part, in blaming others. The democrats, after all, have had the majority of power for five years now, yet the republicans are still the scapegoats for all that goes wrong in the world…

                    • @Jeff

                      What I just cannot understand is how you can limit yourself the opportunity to learn and find out REAL facts. Obviously I’m biased myself, I have my opinions, everyone does. BUT, the difference here is, I actually DO want to know the truth, even if it contradicts my own beliefs. Believe it or not, but years ago, I was a Democrat. Of course this was MANY years ago, when I was younger, lol, but still. My world view is that the Democrats are looking out for us and the Republicans are just for the rich. But the more I lived and learned, the more things contradicted with my world view at the time, I didn’t blind myself to those things and ignore things that contradicted me and only saw the things I wanted to see, I took it all in, and as a result, changed my view to what it is today.

                      To further give evidence of how I like to see the whole truth, I used to believe that global warming was a natural occurrence. And actually, it is, this is a FACT. But what I found, not from listening to the talking head on the news channel, but from looking up hard raw data from some scientists analyzing ice core samples, those ice cores show two very important things. First, our planet does fluctuate in global temperatures, from a global warming that leads to a global cooling, that then leads back to a global warming, and this keeps repeating on a consistent interval. The second thing those cores show is that our current stage of global warming is VERY CLOSE to being right on schedule for the planet’s normal fluctuation timeline as proven by history. This gives some credibility in those who believe against the theory that global warming is a man-made event. HOWEVER, I looked at the timeline more closely and I do have to agree that this stage of global warming, although CLOSE to being just on schedule, is actually slightly ahead of schedule. So that also gives credibility that we have indeed affected the global temperature. However, does this mean that our planet will not be able to cope? Nope, not at all, like I’ve already said, the planet is used to this cycle. Whether a little ahead of schedule or right on time, it’ll react the same, with a global cooling cycle… But again, I was willing to look at the data and come to a conclusion that’s against the common conservative beliefs. Because I’d rather know the truth than just go by what the political party I support try to tell me.

                      And to further prove your statement about how the left relies solely on what the media tells them, just look at their opinion on Bush’s economic policy regarding education during his term. I am willing to bet you that 99% of liberals will SWEAR to you that Bush SLASHED federal education funding. They will swear on the lives of their children that this is true. Do you know where this “information” came from? Yep, the media. If you spend 10 minutes of your own time and go to the department of education’s own website and look up detailed reports on federal funding in the past 2 decades, you will see that federal funding for education was indeed INCREASED during Bush’s terms. And increased by a larger margin than the year-to-year increases that occurred during Clinton’s terms… Hm… Interesting right? But no matter how many times I try to point that out, ask those same liberals the next day and they’ll again repeat how Bush cut federal funding to education… *shakes head* Blinders, they are letting their position dictate what they see in the evidence instead of letting the evidence dictate their position… I can’t imagine living in such a way…

                      I think that’s probably why I’m such a frankenstein in terms of politics. I believe in the death penalty and am pro-gun, but I’m also pro-choice. I am agnostic and believe in science and evolution, but believe in everyone’s freedom to PRACTICE religion, not freedom FROM religion… I believe in man’s affect on global climate change, but don’t believe that the planet cannot cope with it on its own. So technically speaking, I’m a little bit of both, I don’t follow the beliefs of any one political party to the letter, but in the areas of great importance (in my opinion) I do side with the Republicans more (fiscal conservatism, pro-death penalty, pro-law enforcement, against giving too many privileges to criminals and felons, pro-gun, pro-military).

                      But it really boggles my mind how some people can live life with blinders on and are ok with it… Anyway, I’m rambling, lol. 😀

                    • @Jeff

                      Oh, BTW, I’m not saying “you” as in you, I’m just saying people in general, I know you’re not a liberal or anything…

                    • All well-stated, Ken. I still have my doubts about man-made global warming, as I believe the sun and other natural occurring events have a lot more to do with it, but that being said, I think we are all for a cleaner environment, so long as the human condition does not take a backseat to an endangered fish here, a rare plant there, etc. Anyway, we agree far more than we disagree. Let’s hope we expeirence some real “hope” and “change” this coming election.

      • And, no doubt, he’ll continually remind us of this during the upcoming election, as he has no real domestic accomplishments to present, other than putting more people on Food Stamps than ever before and forcing insurance companies (actually you and me) to pay for other people’s contraception. “Hey, I’ll give you ‘free’ stuff, so vote for me!” Ugh. Don’t get me started…

        • @Jeff

          Not only that, the whole contraception thing only really benefits women… Isn’t that kind of sexist? So we are required to pay for something just for women? Is there some thing men get that women don’t??? But I think it’s dumb that they wouldn’t give religious organizations exemptions. It’s AGAINST THEIR RELIGION… I’m kind of sick how this party seems to think that our freedom of religion as spelled out by our constitution means our freedom FROM religion… I’m agnostic, not even religious, but even I know it’s wrong to force someone to do something that’s against their religion…

          • Ken, had Bush done half as much as this president has done, by way of forcing his beliefs onto others, the left would be calling for his head. Obama even attempted to have the government play a role in the hiring and firing of priests, but thankfully, the Supreme Court, which has a few leftists on it, ruled unanimously against him. Perhaps we should stop “ranting” about politics, however, as technically, this is not the place for it. I encourage you to continue to challenge and influence the people around you, however, as I fear for the direction this country is heading, and we need more people out there with rationality and sense. I always appreciate knowing that there are others out there like you.

  9. Like they cant go to the store and get a box of condoms like everyone else.

    • They claim “women’s rights”, yet when has it been a “right” to get “free” (i.e. paid for by you and me) contraception? They say without insurance provided contraception, women do not have a “choice”. Really?! As you alluded to, how about spending their cigarette money on a pack of condoms or other form of contraception at a drug store, or, just perhaps, abstain a little more often and display some personal control and responsibility? This is the absurdity, deception, and dependency of the left.

      • WHAT??? People should take responsibilities for their own actions?? ABSURD!!! Obviously you should just blame everyone around you when you do something wrong. OBVIOUSLY!! *rolls eyes*


        • Sad thing is, about half the people out there actually want more dependency on government, and thus, less personal responsibility. All anyone has to do is promise “free” this or “free” that, and they get their votes. We are at a teetering point in history, I am afraid, to the detriment of our culture, country, and humanity in general.

  10. This should stir up an interesting discussion…I would very much like to see Paul Greengrass’s take on this movie. I mean it wouldn’t be the first time Greengrass and Bigelow have had movies that are being compared. Just a thought.

    Nevertheless, I would very much like to see this.

    P.S. – Cast Keanu Reeves as an old Johnny Utah along for the ride. hahaha.

  11. Were any scenes filmed at the old Sahara hotel in las vegas