Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, of The Hurt Locker, has chronicled the 10-year manhunt for Osama bin Laden in her new film Zero Dark Thirty.
Jessica Chastain plays a young CIA agent Maya who locates bin Laden through a long-forgotten courier.
The actress wasn’t able to meet the person her charater is based on as she is an active member of the CIA so relied on co-screenwriter Mark Boal.
She said: “Our screenwriter started as an investigative journalist, so a lot of research came from him – I actually nicknamed him ‘The Professor’. Any question I had, and I had a lot of questions, he answered. I was also able to speak to some people who do things like that, who helped me a lot and I read a lot of books.”
Bigelow – the first woman to win an Academy Award for directing – says she found the most effective way to tell the story was from Maya’s point of view: “There were several women and men pivotal to this hunt. And then realizing that it would be probably the best way to tell the story would be through the eyes of this individual and then put the audience in her position.
“You know, she’s kind of the boots on the ground so-to-speak, taking us through this hunt, taking us through this odyssey and this journey through all these different locations and finally ending up in Abbottabad, Pakistan.”
Zero Dark Thirty opens in the UK towards the end of January.