Writer says bin Laden film, trailer not politically motivated

Wed Aug 8, 2012 5:07pm EDT
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By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Hollywood studio this week released a trailer for a film dramatizing the hunt for Osama bin Laden, but the film's screenwriter said the trailer was not meant to boost the campaign of President Barack Obama, who ordered the May 2011 commando raid in which bin Laden was killed.

Earlier this year, U.S. Representative Peter King, the Republican who chairs the House committee on Homeland Security, said the filmmakers had "set out to tell a blockbuster, election year story about one of the most classified operations in American history."

King expressed concern about the involvement of a "Democratic lobbying firm" in "brokering" access for the filmmakers to top officials.

But screenwriter Mark Boal said the film is a non-political account of the actions of the undercover operatives who hunted down bin Laden and eventually killed him. Obama is not even a character in the movie, he said.

Sony Pictures said the trailer for the film, titled "Zero Dark Thirty," was released on Tuesday. The studio posted the trailer, which runs for 1 minute 15 seconds, on YouTube.

The trailer is potentially controversial because official documents released by the government this year to a conservative group showed that Boal and film director Kathryn Bigelow were given background briefings by White House, Pentagon and CIA officials about the bin Laden operation.

Both the CIA and the Pentagon said at the time that their interactions with the filmmakers, who won an Oscar for the movie The Hurt Locker, were routine and normal.

A political controversy erupted when New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd reported last year that the White House was "counting on" the film to "counter Obama's growing reputation as ineffectual."   Continued...

Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (C) stands during a shoot at the filming location of the movie "Zero Dark Thirty" in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh March 17, 2012. REUTERS/Ajay Verma