Transcript for 'Zero Dark Thirty': Kathryn Bigelow's Controversial OBL Film
Cracker barrel.It's cheddar, perfected. We know how the hunt for osama bin laden ended, with a dramatic raid by elite s.E.A.L. Team six but just how bin laden was found and killed remain largely a mystery. Now, it's the subject of a new movie by the director and screenwriter behind the oscar-winning movie "the hurt locker." Abc's senior foreign correspondent martha raddatz covered this story from the start and shared her insights with the filmmakers and tonight, she brings us this exclusive look at "zero dark thirty." That is him? Could be. Reporter: It was the greatest manhunt of all time. The stealthy night time raid by the elite s.E.A.L. Team six, the secret bin laden compound in pakistan. You think you note story but hold on to your seat. Now, there is so much more. "Zero dark thirty" the riveting new film by director kathryn bigelow and screenwriter mark boal brings you the hunt for bin laden like it's never beeneen before, combining meticulous detail of a first-rate investigative reporter. It was thrill to see what the people were like. Reporter: With the dramatic touch of oscar-winning director bigelow. It was based on firsthand accounts, it felt very vivid and immediate. Reporter: They bea gan the project six years ago with a very different ending until -- the united states conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden. I picked up the phone and started calling sources and seeing what they knew and taking reer iffals and knocking on doors.Here there was huge controversy and an investigation was begun about you receiving classified material. I certain dli a ly did a lot of homework. I never asked for classified material and to my knowledge i never received any. Reporter: At the center of the drama was a young female cia officer played by jessica chastain, the woman they called maya, rerelentlessly tracked leads that went straight to bin laden. Bin laden is there. And you're going to kill him for me. I realized thisssey was this woman, with tenacity and courage, I was excited to take it on. I didn't want to use you with your velcro and gear, I wanted to drop a bomb. Reporter: Those words were indeed real based on interviews with the young cia officer, some of the dialogue is drama tiezed, some of the decades difficult na nair nairty -- narrative condensed. How did she feel about the movie? A lot of people I spoke to were in an unusual position, they were proud of what they had done but had more or less resigned themselves to the fact that what they had done they could not talk about publicly but the movie allows them tuk in a way that is a bit freer because movies can change the way people look. Reporter: Bigelow was making final tweaks with her sound designers the day we met. What we were try doing here was create a kind of sonic environment that kept the outcome of the evening in question. Reporter: Because they don't know how it will end. They don't know. Reporter: The evening in question the climax of the film, the raid that killed bin laden. That had to be a challenge because the world thinks they know how this ends. But they don't know how it happened. They don't know what was the choreography of the assault itself, where did they land? Where did they crash? Who did they kill first? Reporter: The assault on the compou compound, like the rest of the film is as accurate as possible. Using in part abc news video shot at the actual scene a full scale version of the compound built in jordan where they filmed for close to four weeks. The floor the tile, carpet -- mark said you took that from -- from your footage. Reporter: Where fr the abc news video. Yes. Reporter: They recreated the stealth helicopters that swept over the border into pakistan using real black hawks with computer generated graphics replicating the stealthy skin. Actors told of terrifying twists that their real live counterparts faced. You're in the elements, wind, sand, sound in the rotor wash and you can't see anything. You know, you imagine what it would be like to land in this place. Reporter: And bigelow takes you there like nobody else can. You feel this raid. Hear it. Even though you think you know how itds, there is more to this story. You're at the center of something that is so epic and that doesn't come along very often. We were both aware of the fact we probably won't have another story like this. I can't imagine. I think it's a story of the lifetime. Reporter: It may be but for many of the real heroes of this movie the secret work they do continues to this day. For "nightline," I'm martha raddatz in los angeles.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.