New declassified files show that the Oscar-winning screenwriter behind Zero Dark Thirty got some unexpected tips on penning the film.
The CIA asked Mark Boal to trim “torture” sequences which it worried would reflect poorly on the organization, according to materials gleaned by Gawker.com via the Freedom of Information Act.
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The memo contains five conference calls between screenwriter Mark Boal and the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs in late 2011, whose purpose was “to help promote an appropriate portrayal of the agency and the bin Laden operation.”
The CIA demanded the removal of two scenes that contained controversial Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIT) from the film. The original opening scene featured agent Maya, played by Jessica Chastain, participating in the torture of a detainee. It was changed so that in the movie Maya just watches a video of the waterboarding of the prisoner who is subsequently incarcerated in a tiny box.
Boal eventually did make some changes to the script, but the screenwriter insists the final decisions regarding the film’s content were left up to the creative team, not the CIA.
The 2012 film Zero Dark Thirty details the long, successful manhunt that led to terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.