Kathryn Bigelow on Making 'Zero Dark Thirty'

The Oscar winning filmmaker discusses the role of women in her Osama bin Laden Manhunt Movie
9:00 | 01/11/13

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Transcript for Kathryn Bigelow on Making 'Zero Dark Thirty'
They're two narratives. About the location of Osama bin Laden. The one that your most familiar with is that you -- is hiding in -- -- in the tribal areas but he's surrounded by a large contingent of loyal fighters. -- that narrative is pre 9/11 understanding of CBO. The second Meredith. That is living in the city. Living in -- city with multiple points of egress an entry. Access to communication. So they can keep in touch with the organization. He can't run a global network of interconnected cells from. I was totally unaware. Have to say. When I saw this movie how many women were actually involved. But to that for me is the movie its I think I -- -- -- a portrait of dedication and you know that's -- -- Out of the halls of government so to speak and becomes you know I think I think -- -- something that can be inspiring to everybody you know like just test. The dedication of these professionals. People who worked that devoted their entire life they work in the shadows they have no. Public presence nor should thing nor can it. And and -- -- -- no public acknowledgment our gratitude is is given to them just privately. But that you are made aware. Of this tremendous amount of dedication and service that these people are giving to you every day for us to have this conversation. And feel safe having this conversation their people out there who are working very hard day in -- to achieve that so. I think that it's relief finally a portrait of of dedication and courage. Tenacity. Will willfulness. And and but against almost impossible thoughts and yes their women -- that was surprising to me and I was actually surprised that I was surprised. But but if it's interesting because both in Peter Perkins book manhunt -- Michael Schneider's book Osama bin Laden that comment on. That predominance of women in intelligence. Well you would have to get it because your -- and they go to that. These are women. Where you've had movies that we must also I remember blue steel really well and Jamie Lee Curtis that. Police uniform before and has to offer carrying progress -- But. Is this in your mind that people are going to think the movie is also making a feminist statement. Interesting you know -- it occurred to me but then I. You know it it -- I kind of -- Felt what's most important. Is to be faithful to the research. And it wasn't in any way. There was no agenda that was there was no agenda like that that was part of the the thinking behind this piece you know was just lets you know let's try to reflect the research as best we can -- -- -- -- -- the other hand. It's ten years it's been compressed and a two and half hours. And it happens. The research happen to. Revolves around. Many people. Many of whom were women. I don't know much about you privately. And I don't know much about -- prime. When I watch this movie she's -- woman defined by the job she -- Is that a specific thing coming what I think what's interesting I think what's are real true testament to -- testing its talent that. In these narrow windows. Of very rigorous dialogue this beautifully finely calibrated. Performance that gives you -- your name her eagerness her disappointment. It gives you universe in these narrow windows and and you know the kind of -- a conversation about back story to you need that's really inform. I -- I mean I would say yes and now you know I think she gives you that she gives you her expectations she gives you her her. -- you know courage. And of course her will and her tenacity and her kind of psychological did you know dedication but. But. You know so what I think there's something about. Having the story unfold in the immediate there aren't other time lines you can. Work with you you're compressing ten years and two and a half hours -- -- enough there -- it's a very dramatic story as it unfolds. As the facts unfold in and of themselves. And so trying to create those sort of windows of opportunity I think -- actors did a magnificent job of giving you a sort of emotional a complex emotional universe mark ball comes. View with a screen quite you know you work on together but you're still seeing this piece of reportage that he had -- and then how do you approach. Did you approach it as if he were making something that was documentary like what do you approach it through visual. -- in your head because of the art background. You look at that good question I mean a cut of all of the above I mean first first. What's most important to me in this was very important to me in her locker to get is that idea of something being immediate and kind of unfolding. In front of -- in real time. And to do that you need to put the audience -- you Peter in the shoes of those people how do you make it kind of an experiential. Relationship you have with the screen in other words that's you know that's your -- is dedicated as they -- you know -- and nearest. Is is. Determined as they are. So it's really making it. Feel very alive -- -- then I choose a kind of camera that's a lot of I'd like to keep to have camera hand held so kind of keeps alive but not -- position away not like. -- not showing up just keeping it just gently alive. Which hopefully is you know a quality that is. Either subconsciously. Or or somehow stimulates that idea of being. In the middle of this continent and then telling the story through their eyes and especially through the character of mind and you you know you. Man or woman -- can become. On you'd figure on her -- -- on her journey and her obsession and her determination. And you know I think that that is something that's a question of is it a question of how you handle it visually I mean other than keeping the camera live it's really keeping her alive in Muir -- I don't know sub conscious at midnight hello I'm not worth close ups longer I studied to face I study her her intensity in her. Determination. You know which is all and again you know having a great actor. Is any can't do without a great actor I don't think we'll let me ask you then as the last question I think that. Rebates to you. Making this film scene in a million times in an editing room putting it together is there a moment in this movie after seeing it all that time. That resonates for you as you. Not the best scene in the movie not anything but one that just says. When I look at it -- And over again I should say to myself. This is what I wanted it to be. That last. Shot on the plane. Is the one that resonates the most. Personally because I -- It's you know you're kind of caught between two worlds. And -- you know I mean and -- I'm not referring to myself personally referring to you know as a as a member of this country and you know and a proud member of this country and -- into. You know feel hurt. Pride but at the same time. Grasping the scope and scale of what's before all of us. You know in trying to embrace these issues and problems and -- you know again -- ability of people that do nothing but this exclusively is. Fascinating to me. The nobility and also the confusion. The this senseless war was the issue because that's what I see examining when I look at that and I think that you made a movie that. The audience when they see it can take something home with them and disgust and come up with their own reasons for what they think happened. Because I think whoever -- is the real mind is going through that herself. So I just want to thank you for making movies like this thanks for being on the job thank you thank you thank you so two. It's great did it need to didn't -- any and I didn't give me. In any I wasn't even handed though he had no new taxes assessed as a thing if I can't be touched that comes up in a -- --

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