'Zero Dark Thirty' Screenwriter: I Should Be Able to Write 'Bin Laden Was Killed by Aliens' If I Wanted
Time and again, Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal has defended the journalistic merits of the film and its depiction of torture.
In a new interview, the Hurt Locker scribe questioned the group of senators who deemed the movie "grossly inaccurate" by insisting on his right to depict events in any way that he wants.
"I think it's my right, by the way, if I firmly believe that [Osama] Bin Laden was killed by aliens, to depict that," Boal told the Wall Street Journal. "And I should be able to put on there, 'This is 100 percent true and anyone who doubts it is themselves abducted by aliens' ... without a Senate investigation into where I got that notion. Right? In this country, isn't that legit?"
In December, a bipartisan group of senators led by Dianne Feinstein and John McCain wrote a letter calling on Sony, the film's distributor, to add a disclaimer to the film "to state that the role of torture in the hunt for Osama bin Laden is not based on the facts, but rather part of the film’s fictional narrative."
The film includes graphic depictions of waterboarding and other torture techniques that were imposed on detainees. In the Journal interview, Boal stated that the Kathryn Bigelow-directed title has been used as a "publicity tool" for politicians to advance an agenda.
"Now does that mean they can use the movie as a political platform to talk about what they've been wanting to talk about for years and years and years? Do I think that Feinstein used the movie as a publicity tool to get a conversation going about her report? I believe it," he said.
Zero Dark Thirty hasn't just been drawing criticism from Congress. It has also been characterized as "shoddy reporting" by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and terrorism expert Steve Coll and lambasted as an "infomercial" for justifying torture as an interrogation technique by ex-CIA agent Lindsay Moran.
Defenders of the film's depiction of torture, among others, have included documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, who wrote that the movie will "make you hate torture." Sony Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal also released a statement reiterating Bigelow's sentiment that the depiction of torture "is not an endorsement."