More than a year has passed since al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was killed, and the expected tidal wave of Hollywood adaptations is fast approaching. While the Weinstein Company looks to be first on the scene this fall with Code Name: Geranimo, the higher-profile project arriving this December is Hurt Locker duo Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal’s Zero Dark Thirty (no surprise, it’s already a major source of controversy).
Retired Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette’s book No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden arrives on September 11th this year, and has replaced best-selling monster Fifty Shades of Grey as the leader on Amazon’s sales ranking list. We can confirm that a film adaptation is indeed being shopped around.
Ex-special operations chief Adm. Bill McRaven has announced that Bissonnette may be prosecuted, if No Easy Day proves to contain classified information about the raid on bin Laden’s compound (or any other missions detailed within). The situation resembles that of Zero Dark Thirty, as the Obama administration is accused of having given Bigelow and Boal unprecedented access to information on military operations.
Of course, none of these assertions have been proven yet – and thus, Zero Dark Thirty looks to arrive in theaters on schedule, while Bissonnette is meeting with studio heads about an adaptation of No Easy Day. The NY Post says he has met with HBO executive Richard Plepler, but that talks are current ongoing between Bissonnette, DreamWorks, and Steven Spielberg (though, it’s all very much in the hush-hush stages of discussions right now).
Spielberg is putting the finishing touches on Lincoln for a winter release before he moves ahead with his new sci-fi flick Robopocalypse. While he’s “committed” to helming the Biblical epic Gods and Kings sometime thereafter, there’s no indication yet that Spielberg even has plans to go beyond producing No Easy Day. The latter project is still taking shape, though, so that could easily change.
UPDATE: Spielberg’s reps have denied the filmmaker will be involved with a No Easy Day adaptation, saying (via Jo Blo):
“Neither Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks Studios or DreamWorks Television will be optioning Mark Owen’s book ‘No Easy Day.'”
No Easy Day is told from a first-person perspective that “takes readers onto the field of battle in America’s ongoing War on Terror,” detailing not only the SEAL training process, but also Bissonnette’s personal experiences as he and his peers trained for the assault on bin Laden’s headquarters. Details on Zero Dark Thirty, by comparison, are scarce, but Boal began researching and scripting the project a few years before bin Laden was slaughtered. Hence, it’s speculated the scope of the film extends beyond the immediate mission to capture bin Laden.
Zero Dark Thirty is also thought to unfold from multiple perspectives, as implied by the ensemble cast. A No Easy Day adaptation, by comparison, could paint a more intimate portrayal of the events that transpired and, thus, better stand apart from the rest of the pack (that’s assuming Bissonnette isn’t prosecuted, which could set the stage for debates about the responsibilities of artistic expression…).