Kathryn Bigelow, Oscar winner and director of The Hurt Locker, has reportedly been meeting with actors and her screenwriting partner Mark Boal about a film tentatively titled Kill Bin Laden. But, as I’m sure you’re aware by now, Osama Bin Laden, founder and leader of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda, was shot and killed during a covert operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan on Sunday.
Bigelow and journalist-turned-screenwriter Boal, who won his own Oscar for writing the military drama, were preparing a film about a failed black ops mission to kill Bin Laden in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan and, according to Deadline, had begun to cast the project as their next collaboration. Naturally, no one is particularly interested anymore in a mission that missed the wanted terrorist, so it may be back to the drawing board for Boal and Bigelow.
Michael Fassbender, who plays Magneto in the upcoming X-Men: First Class, was considered for the lead at some point but is no longer involved. Joel Edgerton, one of the stars of the Aussie drama Animal Kingdom, is the new frontrunner, particularly after the relatively unknown actor was passed over for The Bourne Legacy (ironically that went to Hurt Locker’s Jeremy Renner) and Universal’s revisionist fairy tale Snow White and the Huntsman. Perhaps they’ll rethink the pick once again as details leak about the Navy SEAL team that infiltrated Bin Laden’s barbed-wire tipped, three-story compound.
Might I suggest Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. WWE’s “The Rock”)? Somehow, the Fast Five actor knew about the successful operation early and tweeted, “Just got word that will shock the world – Land of the free…home of the brave DAMN PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!” This was before word got out from insider government sources, a leak that may even trace back to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The Rock has connections.
Given Hollywood’s hurried attempts to exploit the 9/11 tragedy for dramatic gain post-2001 with such films as Reign Over Me, Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, Paul Greengrass’ United 93, and countless other features and documentaries, it’s only a matter of time before a studio rushes a fictional re-telling of the events. Deadline reports Stone was even considering a follow-up to his WTC film based on Jawbreaker, a book about a December 2001 mission during the initial invasion that was called off at the eleventh hour.
It’s not a matter of “if,” but “when” a movie about Bin Laden’s death will surface. But can a film truly capture the jubilation and relief people felt while watching President Obama’s speech Sunday night?
Bigelow was also preparing a film titled Triple Frontier, an ensemble movie about organized crime in the notorious border zone between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Tom Hanks was on board last year, though his schedule has shifted considerably since.
Of course, how Bin Laden’s death may affect the movie industry is far, far less important than perhaps how this historic development could bring American and international troops back from Afghanistan and its surrounding, war-torn countries. Only time will tell, but, for now, thank you to those courageous men and women who serve in our armed forces.