×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jeff Daniels, Lawrence Wright Talk Story Behind Hulu’s ‘The Looming Tower’

Lawrence Wright spent five years working on “The Looming Tower,” his Pulitzer prize-winning book about the lead-up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The book has been adapted into a drama series for the streaming service Hulu.

“My main sources were terrorists and intelligence agents,” Wright said Sunday at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour. “They’re not the most open people to deal with. But honestly it was a mission for me. It’s probably the most important thing I’ll do in my professional life.”

Wright said that he “had to find a way to take this vast tragedy and make it human,” and his approach was to find key individuals and focus on their stories. One of those was individuals was John O’Neill, a counter-terrorism expert who became focused on Al Qaeda, was forced out of the FBI, and was hired as head of security at the World Trade Center — a job he began just weeks before the 9/11 attack in which O’Neill was killed.

“The man who was supposed to get bin Laden, bin Laden got him,” Wright said. “I used to think it was ironic. Now I think it’s Greek.”

Jeff Daniels plays O’Neill in the series.

“It’s a battle to get heard,” for O’Neill in the series, Daniels said. “The way that he delivered his message wasn’t always compatible with people listening to him. He was belligerent. He blasted people when he didn’t get his way. But in the end, he was right.”

Alex Gibney, who executive produces the series, compared working on the show to his experience as a documentary filmmaker.

“It’s inspired by true events,” Gibney said. “There are some key aspects of this central story that are absolutely vital to understand, and they’re essentially true. In the context of creating a drama that is compelling, inevitably characters are sometimes composited and stories rendered in dramatic terms. But in terms of understanding the roles that these agencies play and how they tracked Al Qaeda at the time and what their successes were and what their failures were, that’s pretty accurately presented.”

The Looming Tower” is set to premiere on Hulu Feb. 28.

More TV

  • Game of Thrones finale

    Six Things We Learned From 'Game of Thrones: The Last Watch' Documentary

    HBO gave fans a long parting look at the making of “Game of Thrones” on Sunday night in a two-hour documentary that focused on the Herculean efforts by the small army craft and technical experts who worked on the mammoth fantasy drama. “Game of Thrones: The Last Watch” introduced viewers to the leaders of the [...]

  • 'Killing Eve' Season 2 Failed Where

    'Killing Eve' Season 2 Stumbled Where 'Barry' Soared (Column)

    SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers for the entire second seasons of “Killing Eve” and “Barry.”  I was dead certain that “Killing Eve” and “Barry” — two of my favorite television debuts of 2018 — should have ended after a single season. Both coincidentally starring unstable assassins, the shows were smart, propulsive, and extremely weird [...]

  • A.P. BIO -- "Melvin" Episode 208

    'AP Bio' Canceled After Two Seasons at NBC

    “AP Bio” has been canceled at NBC. Series creator Mike O’Brien shared the news with fans on Twitter, writing that “This has been my favorite project of my life.” In the single-camera comedy, Glenn Howerton portrayed a disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar who lost out on his dream job and was forced to return to Toledo, [...]

  • James Holzhauer $2 million

    'Jeopardy!' Champion James Holzhauer Hits $2 Million Winnings Milestone

    This current “Jeopardy!” player has just won over $2 million on the popular game show. Who is James Holzhauer? The 34 year old professional sports gambler from Las Vegas has hit a “Jeopardy!” milestone by becoming only the second person in the show’s history to win over $2 million in regular season play. Holzhauer won [...]

  • Kanye West Shares a Memory of

    Kanye West Shares a Touching Memory of His Mother in Letterman Interview

    In a preview of David Letterman’s interview with Kanye West, which begins streaming next Friday, May 31, the musician’s wife Kim Kardashian West, tweeted a clip of him sharing a touching memory of his mother, Donda, who died in 2007 after a surgical procedure. While his wife looks on smiling, West answers Letterman’s question about [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content