Entries in Zero Dark Thirty (2)


Mark Boal: Government Inquiry Into ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ ‘Crosses a Line’

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- During an interview for “This Week,” “Zero Dark Thirty” screenwriter and producer Mark Boal told Martha Raddatz that the current Senate inquiry into the Oscar-nominated movie could discourage the making of similar films in the future.

“I think that it could discourage other screenwriters or…writers of any kind from making topical movies, it could discourage studios from releasing them,” Boal said. “Criticism is fine, and we, I can take criticism onboard…but there is a difference between criticism and investigation. And I think that crosses a line that hasn’t been crossed really since the ’40s, when you talk about government investigating movies.”

In December, three members of the Senate Intelligence committee  — Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John McCain, R-Ariz. — asked the CIA to provide information about the details it gave Boal and “Zero Dark Thirty” director Kathryn Bigelow about the effort to find and later kill Osama bin Laden. The trio also sent a letter to Sony Pictures Entertainment – the studio that released the film – claiming that “Zero Dark Thirty” was “grossly inaccurate” in suggesting torture played a role in extracting information that would eventually lead to bin Laden.

On the criticism aimed at the film’s accuracy, Boal pushed back to a degree.

“These topics are controversial. I think the controversy in a lot of ways predates the film.  And I believe that we capture the essence of what happened and  so do many other people who have lived through it,” Boal said. “I approached the research the way I would’ve approached the research of any article or if I was writing a book.  But then there’s a second stage, which is you take that research and you compile it and transform it into a screenplay.  It’s dramatized.”

Joining Boal for the interview was Mark Bowden, best-selling author of “Blackhawk Down,” and the new book “The Finish” who said describing the film as journalism placed an “unfair burden” on it.

“I think it’s really an unfair burden of expectation to put on a feature film, to call it journalistic.  I mean, journalism is very detailed…you try to get down in the weeds and sort out exactly what happened, ” he said. “And I don’t think that a feature film is really a place where that happens.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Did the Defense Department Give Too Much Help for "Zero Dark Thirty?"

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sources tell ABC News that the Inspector General for the Department of Defense has been preparing a report in which Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers is criticized for giving sensitive information to the filmmakers behind Zero Dark Thirty.

Specifically, Vickers is said to have disclosed to the filmmakers the identity of a member of SEAL Team Six -- though not a member of the team that conducted the raid on Osama bin Laden‘s compound. Names of members of that team are not to be disclosed because of the potential for violent retaliation.

Some in the Pentagon think the Inspector General is holding the report until after the current Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, retires so as to not sully or embarrass him.

A senior defense official disputed that. “It’s wrong for anyone to suggest the investigation has been held up for political reasons or to avoid embarrassment,” the official said. “The investigation simply hasn’t concluded. These things often take time.”

The official added that Pentagon officials, “really don’t think this will amount to anything.”

Documents released in May, after the conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained them through the Freedom of Information Act, revealed that in a July 14, 2011 meeting, Vickers told the filmmakers he would provide them with the name of a, “planner, SEAL Team 6 Operator and Commander.”

“The only thing we ask is that you not reveal his name in any way as a consultant because . . . he shouldn’t be talking out of school.” Vickers said. “This at least, this gives him one step removed and he knows what he can and can’t say, but this way at least he can be as open as he can with you and it ought to meet your needs.”

The senior defense official said that Vickers was asked by the Pentagon to talk to, “the Zero Dark Thirty filmmakers and others in the entertainment industry to provide unclassified information on the bin Laden operation. He wasn’t doing this on his own. It’s appropriate for department officials to work with the entertainment industry to try to inform how stories are told -- especially those associated with one of the greatest intelligence and military successes of a generation.”

The official said that “Vickers is one of America’s top defense and intelligence professionals who has closely guarded secrets for decades, and is highly respected in the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio