Origins: “Mark Boal had gone to Iraq and was passionate about telling this story of men who have the most dangerous job in the world and the way that friendship and camaraderie get them through it,” Bigelow says. “I wanted to direct it, and to make that happen I set out to produce it as well, developing the entire film independently, as that was the only way it was going to happen in this economic climate.”
Financing: “Nicolas Chartier of Voltage Pictures gallantly offered to raise the financing, which I always think of as a brave, creative choice on his part given that I didn’t want to cast any major movie stars in the leads in order to preserve the naturalistic tone of the material and heighten the film’s suspense,” says Bigelow.
Domino effect: “Sgt. James was the emotional heart of the film and so I cast Jeremy Renner first and built the rest of the cast around him,” Bigelow says. “His reputation as a gifted actor helped attract other actors.”
Setting the record straight: “There’s a misconception that the producer just brings cappuccino and talks with the actors,” Shapiro says. “They’re really trying to put out a constant stream of fires.”