Osama Bin Laden Battle Brewing in Cannes

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The battle for bin Laden is on - that is, the battle to bring the killing of the Al-Qaeda leader to the big screen.

At the just-opened Cannes Film Festival, The Weinstein Company is close to buying "Code Name Geronimo," a movie about the manhunt for Osama bin Laden. And, according to the Los Angeles Times, company chairman Harvey Weinstein has pretty much decided to release it in the fall - ahead of the presidential elections and the release of another bin-Laden-assassination film, Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty."

Sony Pictures had decided not to release "Zero Dark Thirty," which features Joel Edgerton and Jessica Chastain, until December 19, presumably to avoid politicizing the film. The movie was already the subject of Congressional scrutiny over whether the administration had leaked classified information to the filmmakers.

Weinstein, who rolled out Michael Moore's "Farenheit 9/11? the summer before the Bush-Kerry contest in 2004, apparently has no such qualms.

"Code Name Geronimo" is directed by John Stockwell, the actor-turned-director behind such films as "Dark Tide" and "Blue Crush." According to industry gossip website Deadline Hollywood, the deal for the film, which is still in post-production, is being negotiated in the $2 million range on the basis of a trailer and additional footage.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the film centers on the CIA, U.S. military brass and the Navy Seals who took the risky mission, and is more modest in budget and scope that "Zero Dark Thirty." Though "Geronimo" may have first-to-screen advantage, "Zero Dark Thirty" comes with a more impressive pedigree. It's by the same team behind the Oscar-winning "The Hurt Locker" - Bigelow and fellow Oscar-winner, screenwriter Mark Boal.

By the way, "The Hurt Locker" producer who shared in the Best Picture Award, Voltage Pictures' Nicolas Chartier, has switched sides in this battle. He's the producer behind "Geronimo."

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