You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Boal earns troop respect for ‘Locker’

Freshman screenwriter in harm's way in Iraq

Thirty-six-year-old journalist-turned-screenwriter Mark Boal didn’t always cover the military.

“Before 9/11, I covered politics, the war on drugs, technology and the Internet in relationship to privacy, but it was always hard news and investigative reporting. Then Sept. 11th happened, which was a big turning point for me in terms of what I wrote about. After that, I started covering the war on terror and writing about the military. ”

Paul Haggis bought one of his articles and turned into “In the Valley of Elah.” That, along with Boal’s own experiences embedded with a bomb squad in Baghdad, led to “The Hurt Locker.”

He gained the trust of the troops simply by sharing their risks. “I was standing on the street when people were shooting and close enough to a bomb to get hit if it went off. … They knew I wasn’t just flying in for the weekend.”

Hometown: Greenwich Village, N.Y.

School: Oberlin College

First writing gig: A journalist for the Budapest Sun — a Hungarian English-language newspaper aimed at expats.

Influences: George Orwell, Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, John Cassavetes and cinema of the ’70s.

Screenplays that impressed this year: “The Informant”

More Film

  • Strictly Business Podcast: Byron Allen Expands

    Strictly Business Podcast: Byron Allen Expands in TV and Film, Fights for 'Economic Inclusion'

    Thirty-six-year-old journalist-turned-screenwriter Mark Boal didn’t always cover the military. “Before 9/11, I covered politics, the war on drugs, technology and the Internet in relationship to privacy, but it was always hard news and investigative reporting. Then Sept. 11th happened, which was a big turning point for me in terms of what I wrote about. After […]

  • Common, Lena Waithe

    Common, Lena Waithe Join AT&T Hello Lab's Filmmaker-Mentoring Program in Second Year

    Thirty-six-year-old journalist-turned-screenwriter Mark Boal didn’t always cover the military. “Before 9/11, I covered politics, the war on drugs, technology and the Internet in relationship to privacy, but it was always hard news and investigative reporting. Then Sept. 11th happened, which was a big turning point for me in terms of what I wrote about. After […]

  • Sony Takes Premium Film1 Movies Service

    Sony Takes Premium Film1 Movies Service Direct To Consumer

    Thirty-six-year-old journalist-turned-screenwriter Mark Boal didn’t always cover the military. “Before 9/11, I covered politics, the war on drugs, technology and the Internet in relationship to privacy, but it was always hard news and investigative reporting. Then Sept. 11th happened, which was a big turning point for me in terms of what I wrote about. After […]

  • Tim Robbins to Be Feted at

    Tim Robbins to Be Feted at Karlovy Vary Film Festival

    Thirty-six-year-old journalist-turned-screenwriter Mark Boal didn’t always cover the military. “Before 9/11, I covered politics, the war on drugs, technology and the Internet in relationship to privacy, but it was always hard news and investigative reporting. Then Sept. 11th happened, which was a big turning point for me in terms of what I wrote about. After […]

  • BAFTA Details Diversity Requirements for 2019

    BAFTA Details Diversity Requirements for 2019 Film Awards

    Thirty-six-year-old journalist-turned-screenwriter Mark Boal didn’t always cover the military. “Before 9/11, I covered politics, the war on drugs, technology and the Internet in relationship to privacy, but it was always hard news and investigative reporting. Then Sept. 11th happened, which was a big turning point for me in terms of what I wrote about. After […]

  • Wang Zhongjun Chinese movie mogul and

    Huayi Bros.’ Dennis Wang Makes Reassurances, Promises Stock Purchases

    Thirty-six-year-old journalist-turned-screenwriter Mark Boal didn’t always cover the military. “Before 9/11, I covered politics, the war on drugs, technology and the Internet in relationship to privacy, but it was always hard news and investigative reporting. Then Sept. 11th happened, which was a big turning point for me in terms of what I wrote about. After […]

  • Tiffany Haddish

    MTV Movie and TV Awards: 10 Standout Moments

    Thirty-six-year-old journalist-turned-screenwriter Mark Boal didn’t always cover the military. “Before 9/11, I covered politics, the war on drugs, technology and the Internet in relationship to privacy, but it was always hard news and investigative reporting. Then Sept. 11th happened, which was a big turning point for me in terms of what I wrote about. After […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content