Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter/producer Mark Boal began work on a film about the manhunt for Osama bin Laden back in 2008, then going under the on-the-nose working title Kill Bin Laden. The project gained momentum after the two walked away with joint Oscars for Best Picture (as well as individual awards for directing and writing) on the Iraq War thriller The Hurt Locker.
The pair's global-political drama-thriller was unexpectedly shoved into the limelight when bin Laden was actually killed during a raid of his compound in May 2011. It's now armed with an cast overflowing with credible names, a catchy new title (Zero Dark Thirty) and a minimalistic teaser trailer that's nonetheless gotten the public buzzing (with reactions varying from excitement to anger, as anticipated).
Zero Dark Thirty has prompted premature criticism from those who did not care for how Bigelow and Boal were somewhat sloppy when it came to capturing the nitty, gritty, details of military procedures in Hurt Locker. Furthermore, accusations that the filmmakers were allowed classified information by the Obama administration puts the project between a rock and a hard place. Regardless of whether Zero Dark Thirty proves (or fails) to be a highly-realistic depiction of events, the end result will leave some of its detractors feeling validated about their suspicions.
That might, in part, account for why details on Zero Dark Thirty are being kept on lockdown for the time being, outside of general acknowledgements that Bigelow's film dramatizes Navy SEAL Team 6's successful infiltration of bin Laden's Pakistan compound. The above-mentioned teaser trailer revealed that Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) and Jennifer Ehle (Contagion) play government personnel overseeing the operation. Moreover, the first official images from the film reveal Joel Edgerton (Warrior) and his stunt coordinator/actor brother Nash as members of Team 6 aboard "a stealth blackhawk helicopter."
It remains uncertain exactly what roles Zero Dark Thirty players like Jason Clarke (The Chicago Code), Jessica Chastain (The Help), Mark Strong (John Carter), Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation), Édgar Ramírez (Wrath of the Titans), Fares Fares (Safe House), Mark Duplass (The League), and Harold Perrineau Jr. (Oz, Lost) are tackling. One look at their individual filmographies, though, and it's easier to make a guess as to which are SEALs - seen encircling bin Laden's compound at night and pressing on through a harrowing Middle-Eastern sandstorm, in the Zero Dark Thirty image gallery below - and which ones will be sitting comfortably behind a desk in Bigelow's movie (note: we've also included the film's teaser poster).
CLICK FOR LARGER VERSION
Zero Dark Thirty is scheduled for theatrical release on December 19th, well after the 2012 U.S. presidential election. Maybe everyone's temperatures will have cooled enough by then so as to allow for a more reasonable discussion about the film's qualities - as a visceral recreation of a massive manhunt, carried out by brave men and women over the course of several years, dangerous missions, and cooperation (or lack thereof) with government figures outside the U.S. (Hey, we can dream, right?)
Source: Rope of Silicon