After simply calling it “Kathryn Bigelow‘s untitled bin Laden project” for months upon months, Deadline brings a little bit of news that, while not the whole nine yards, is a big step in the right direction. As they report, this endeavor is now going by the working title of Zero Dark Thirty.
When one a) knows the film’s subject matter and b) takes that name at pure face value, you can figure why I assumed this was some sort of military terminology — the kind that I know nothing of. So, for the unenlightened like myself, Deadline explains that Zero Dark Thirty could be taken as code for “a very early starting time.” With bin Laden having been killed at around 1 A.M. Pakistani time, doesn’t that just make perfect sense?
(This is also the name of a developing supernatural project from Grace director Paul Solet — one whose title is also rooted in military speak — so that may account for the whole “working title” aspect.)
But when one thing goes smoothly with this project, something else has to go off the rails. The last big instance of this would have to the shift to a December opening, following a right-wing politician deciding to cry foul about some liberal conspiracy to get Obama re-elected. Although that should prove to be a minor kerfuffle, in the grand scheme of things, it could also end up looking miniscule next to the production’s latest troubles.
During second unit shooting (that is, if reports of Bigelow‘s absence are in fact true) in the city of Chandigarh, India, locals began protesting the use of their city as a stand-in for Lahore, Pakistan, expressing concern that the filmmakers were “portraying their sworn enemy Pakistan on Indian soil.” Vijay Bhardwaj, one of the men behind a radical Indian group named Vishva Hindu Parishad, spoke to Reuters, saying “We strongly oppose this and we will not let them put Pakistani flags here and we will not let them shoot for the film.”
A member of the crew attempted to quell some of the anger, explaining to AFP that Abbottabad (the site of bin Laden‘s death) will actually be recreated in Jordan; in the meantime, they’re “still filming and will continue to do so.” Here’s hoping this blows over and everyone involved can complete their work without incurring any harm.
Actual production should be getting underway in the very, very near future, with Joel Edgerton, Jason Clarke, Édgar Ramírez, Mark Strong, Jessica Chastain, Nash Edgerton, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Ehle, Harold Perrineau, and Fares Fares starring. A release is scheduled for December 19th.
What do you make of this reported title? Does all this controversy give you second thoughts about the film?
Welcome to the latest episode of our official podcast, The Film Stage Show. This week, Danny King, Amanda Waltz, and I discuss Don Hertzfeldt’s new short film World of Tomorrow, which will be released on March 31st on VOD (or stream below). Then we dive into a feature review of David Robert Mitchell‘s horror film It Follows, which […]
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