Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal directly addressed the ongoing controversy over their film’s treatment of C.I.A enhanced-interrogation techniques in an interview with The Wrap. “Everything we did has been misinterpreted, and continues to be,” Boal said, responding to charges that the film glorifies torture.
“The movie has been, and probably will continue to be, put in political boxes,” said Boal. “Before we even wrote it, it was [branded] an Obama campaign commercial, which was preposterous. And now it’s pro-torture, which is preposterous. We haven’t really talked about that, but I want to start.”
Boal explained that “the film shows that the guy was waterboarded, he doesn’t say anything and there’s an attack. It shows that the same detainee gives them some information, which was new to them, over a civilized lunch. And then it shows the [Jessica Chastain] character go back to the research room, and all this information is already there — from a number of detainees who are not being coerced. That is what’s in the film, if you actually look at it as a movie and not a potential launching pad for a political statement.”
Added Bigelow, “The point was to immerse the audience in this landscape, not to pretend to debate policy. Was it difficult to shoot? Yes. Do I wish [torture] was not part of that history? Yes, but it was.”
Zero Dark Thirty opens (in limited release) this Wednesday, Dec. 19.