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Hollywood mulls film version of bin Laden killing

03 may 2011, 19:18
It is only a matter of time before Osama bin Laden's killing by crack US forces is made into a Hollywood film -- and one Oscar-winning director could be ahead of the game, reports said Monday, AFP reports.

Kathryn Bigelow, who won an Academy Award in 2010 for "The Hurt Locker," was already working on a movie about the Al-Qaeda leader's death -- which she could still re-think after Sunday's covert operation in Pakistan.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Bigelow has already been discussing a project provisionally entitled "Kill Bin Laden," based on a previous botched attempt to get the Al-Qaeda chief.

She and her screenwriting collaborator Mark Boal -- who worked with Bigelow on Iraq war drama "The Hurt Locker" -- have been meeting with actors for the action thriller project, when Sunday's shock development occurred.

"But now that Bin Laden has been killed, what happens to the Kill Bin Laden project?" it said, adding that the original project was based "on a failed Black Ops mission by the US military to capture the Al-Qaeda leader."

There is a long history of movies based on real events, from "JFK" to "Titanic," or more recently "United 93" about the heroism of passengers who prevented a fourth plane from hitting its mark on 9/11.

Bin Laden's actual death could definitely help the Bigelow project, especially since it is in the relatively early planning stages, said the industry daily.

"We can't imagine the events surrounding the killing not being incorporated into the script in some fashion," it added.

At the same time there is a risk that Bigelow could lose interest, it added, "especially given all the other Bin Laden projects that will likely be fast-tracked to capitalize on the intense worldwide interest in this subject.

Rival daily Variety meanwhile said that Boal's untitled script about the US operatives hunting bin Laden centers on the very team that wound up killing the Al Qaeda leader.

Sources close to Boal told Variety that he is still working on the script, and will definitely include the 40-minute fire-fight at the compound in Pakistan where bin Laden was found and shot to death Sunday.

"For him, the timing of bin Laden's death could hardly be better: Had it come much later, making changes would've been a scramble, but it's still late enough to maximize the movie's timeliness," it said.

The Hollywood Reporter said its sources said Bigelow and Boal -- who could use his contacts as a former journalist to find out more details of Sunday's operation -- will spend this week figuring out their next move.

"The next few weeks will likely see a ton of new Bin Laden projects, especially as the details of the US mission to kill him become known," it added.

Bigelow has built her career via movies notable for their macho characters, whether it's bank-robbing surfers in "Point Break" to adrenaline-addicted bomb squads in "The Hurt Locker."

She became the first woman to win the best director Oscar last year for "The Hurt Locker," a nerve-jangling movie about a US Army bomb disposal squad in Baghdad.

The low-budget drama, based on a screenplay by Boal after he was embedded with a bomb squad in 2004, beat $500 million sci-fi epic "Avatar," directed by her ex-husband James Cameron, at the 2010 Academy Awards.

By Michael Thurston

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