Mark Boal's untitled script followed same operatives who got the terrorist leader

Mark Boal’s untitled script about the operatives hunting Osama bin Laden centers on the very team that wound up killing the terrorist leader, a lucky break for the filmmaker who now has an ending for the project that’s still scheduled to go into production this summer with Kathryn Bigelow directing.

Sources close to Boal tell Variety that the “Hurt Locker” writer is still working on the script, which will definitely include the 40-minute firefight at the compound in Pakistan where bin Laden was found and shot to death Sunday.

Boal had been following the mission for quite some time, thanks to his access to military intelligence and his background as an investigative journalist. For him, the timing of bin Laden’s death could hardly be better: Had it come much later, making changes would have necessitated a scramble. But the news comes late enough in the project’s evolution that it’ll maximize the movie’s timeliness.

Still at issue: location scouting, and the level of security on the film.

Boal was planning a trip to Afghanistan next week but was forced to cancel due to recent events, sources tell Variety. Bigelow and Boal will now wait and see how the Arab world will react to the recent news, though they’re still aiming for a summer shoot.

Variety first reported that the bin Laden pic was being planned as Boal and Bigelow’s followup to “The Hurt Locker” (Daily Variety, Dec. 6, 2010); it was also first to report that Megan Ellison’s Annapurna banner had greenlit the project and planned to finance (Daily Variety, Jan. 13). Bin Laden’s death vastly enlarged the scope and story arc, and the new developments should also help generate funding.

Casting is underway, but offers are awaiting Boal’s final script draft.

After winning Oscars for “The Hurt Locker,” Bigelow and Boal had eyed “Triple Frontier,” a big-budget Paramount film, as their next project. But due to scheduling conflicts, they decided to shoot the smaller-scale film first.

CAA reps Kathryn Bigelow. Boal is repped by CAA and Management 360.

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