After last night’s announcement that U.S. Forces succeeded in finding and terminating Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, one director may be sweating a bit as she celebrates the news with the rest of the country. Kathryn Bigelow’s project, Kill Bin Laden, is shaping up to be an action thriller that chronicles a U.S. Black Ops mission that failed to find the Al-Qaida leader, but with the news that President Obama announced last night, Bigelow’s film may not be able to continue as-is.
Obviously, there are significant political implications surrounding Bin Laden’s death, this is simply a tangential issue. Bigelow and her screenwriting collaborator Mark Boal have met with actors to get their project going, at one point circling Michael Fassbender and now moving on to Joel Edgerton after he lost his shot at Bourne Legacy and Snow White and The Huntsman. It’s possible that Bigelow will just push forward as is, but there are few likely consequences of this news story that may prevent Kill Bin Laden from going ahead without changes.
Those changes may be fairly small; there’s really no way the film can move forward without making at least a few small adjustments to acknowledge that the terrorist leader was in fact killed. However, since it’s based on a true story there really is no need to change the bulk of the story; the problem is that the more recent story may prove more compelling that the previous attempts. Working for Bigelow’s project is the fact that Bin Laden’s death will certainly add buzz and momentum to any projects about him, however that same factor could be what kills the film.
Bigelow is not exactly the type of director — especially after winning the Oscar for The Hurt Locker — who will want to make one Bin Laden film in a sea of others that are jumping on the opportunity to make a buck off of this U.S. coup. If they do continue on this film, they’ll need to differentiate their project from what is sure to be a slew of Bin Laden films on the horizon. Luckily for Boal, he’s got intelligence connections and it’s possible that he’ll use those to re-purpose the project to be more timely and ultimately stand above the other opportunistic projects.
Personally, I hope the news and imminent onslaught of related projects doesn’t discourage Bigelow. She puts a great deal of work into her projects and even with similar films surrounding it and the game-changing announcement yesterday, I’ve got no doubt she’s got the ability to come out with something fantastic. My only worry is that any projects that aim to capitalize on Bin Laden’s death will likely steal some weight from the Oscar-winner’s forthcoming film.