Just hours after Osama Bin Laden's death at the hands of U.S. Navy seals on Sunday, we wrote an article predicting how long it would take for a film version of the history making events to be put into production. Turns out, it's going to be a lot sooner than any of us could have imagined. Deadline reports that even before yesterday's events, Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow had been preparing to cast an Indie movie astonishingly titled Kill Bin Laden, which would revolve around a failed attempt to kill the Al-Qaeda terrorist and mastermind behind 9/11 as he was hiding out in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It would be a black-ops thriller set around the same special forces team who would eventually kill 'The World's Most Wanted Man' and would be based on a screenplay by Bigelow's Hurt Locker writer Mark Boal but let's face it, the movie didn't really have an ending until yesterday. As details kept emerging about both this project and the nature of how Osama was taken down, Variety then updated the story with the news that Boal's script would be updated to include the sensational 40 minute take down of Osama in his custom-built mansion/compound in Pakistan which only happened two days ago. The movie will film this summer if casting can come together and a financial backer agrees to make the movie (Fleming says he's heard studios are 'anxious' to get a patriotic movie about the events off the ground given the nature of the reaction to the story in the U.S. - and I would agree) and in fact things look to be lining up as Joel Edgerton seems to have met with Bigelow and is about to be officially cast and the Ellison family are eager to fund. Edgerton had a great 2010 after his performance in Animal Kingdom got him noticed like never before and most recently he was Tony Gilroy's first choice to lead The Bourne Legacy, until Universal brass decided to go with Jeremy Renner. The timing of Osama's killing couldn't have been better for Bigelow and Boal. If it happened in a few weeks/months, the duo might have been too deep into production to change the story and the film would be a non-event as it would be severely out-dated and insignificant to the real story before it was even complete. Boal, an investigate journalist who has great sources to the military intelligence is now furiously re-writing the second half of his screenplay to include yesterday's events and he was actually due to fly out to Afghanistan in a few days to scout locations but that trip has been delayed. More likely is they will find 'close enough' replica's of countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to shoot the movie as safely as possible. Hollywood Elsewhere have heard from a source close to the production that the movie is probably not going to be called Kill Bin Laden as they have "another title idea but don't want to say yet." Of course Bigelow's project has a jump start on a movie about the takedown of the Al Qaeda terrorist simply because they were going ahead to shoot the movie they have been quietly working on for three years before the sensational news broke anyway, but we are sure they'll be rival projects cropping up. Deadline reminds us of one; As recently as 2006, Paramount Pictures had optioned Jawbreaker, a book by the American intelligence operative Gary Bernsten about the December 2011 U.S.-led military mission to hunt down and kill Bill Laden as a direct revenge attack for the events of that September. Bernsten was the CIA pointman to the Special Operation Forces mission and Fleming says;
The heavily vetted book detailed how close those forces came to finding and executing Bin Laden in the rugged mountains of Tora Bora until they were pulled back after a decision was made to let Pakistan tribal leaders lead the search -- a decision experts felt helped Bin Laden get away.
Cyrus Nowrasteh (Path to 9/11) was brought in to re-write the first draft screenplay by Bernsten's co-author Ralph Pezzullo and you won't be surprised to hear that Oliver Stone was looking to direct it as his follow-up to World Trade Center. If I remember rightly, Stone had the idea to make three films about 9/11, his own trilogy, of which WTC was one and he wanted to follow up with 'what happened next', essentially. Paramount and Stone never could see eye to eye on the project and the director then made his biopic of George W. Bush with Josh Brolin and rather astonishingly, Paramount had wondered since whether the film would be a good fit for their relaunch of Jack Ryan franchise. They thought better of it. Jawbreaker could quickly become a revitalized project under a new director, or perhaps under Oliver Stone if in regards to the new developments, they can agree on a strategy to get it made. But it's Kill Bin Laden that looks to be the one that will be made first and it's hard to argue the film's importance or the global interest in seeing it made.