With all the hysteria surrounding the reported death of Osama bin Laden last night, you had to figure it would only be a matter of time before the discussion turned to bringing the story to the big screen. Surprisingly, it looks like things might be moving a lot quicker than any of us expected on that front, as The Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow is already in pre-production on an indie movie that may be about this very subject. It was previously reported that she was working on a movie called Held by the Taliban, based on a series of articles by journalist David Rohde, although there were also rumours that she was working on a “black ops thriller” about the hunt for bin Laden. It’s unclear if these movies are one and the same, but according to Deadline, she is currently in the process of casting a movie with the working title Kill Bin Laden. Coincidence?
It is believed that the Bigelow’s next film is going to be based on a previous (failed) attempt to hunt down the Al Qaeda leader back when he was hiding out in the mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan. They’ve denied that the movie is specifically about bin Laden, however, so it seems likely that they may fictionalize it somewhat, possibly by changing the names of the people involved (including bin Laden himself). The Hurt Locker writer Mark Boal has already written the script, and they are now in the process of casting, with Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom, The Thing) being courted for the lead.
The question is, will they now try to update the movie to be based on the true story of what actually happened? It seems like that would be a pretty different movie, especially since this operation involved a team of U.S. Navy SEALs infiltrating a compound near Islamabad as opposed to caves in the Tora Bora mountains. Still, it would be hard to resist capitalizing on the current news and giving the story a happy ending. You can bet someone will make this movie if Bigelow doesn’t (Oliver Stone was also once attached to direct a movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden), although movies about 9/11 and the war in Iraq have not fared particularly well at the box office. What do you think, is the death of Osama bin Laden something people want to see on the big screen?