Osama bin Laden Movies & Japanese-American Concentration Camp + Catherine Deneuve & Harvey Keitel Pairing

Zero Dark Thirty posterZero Dark Thirty poster: Kathryn Bigelow's mystery movie about the story everyone (sort of) knows

The Zero Dark Thirty poster has just come out. Plot details about the upcoming Kathryn Bigelow-directed feature, however, have been scarce – or downright nonexistent.

Zero Dark Thirty: Echoes of The Hurt Locker

Zero Dark Thirty is Kathryn Bigelow's first movie since becoming the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar – for The Hurt Locker— two and a half years ago. (She received her statuette from the hands of never-nominated director Barbra Streisand.) Though not exactly a war movie à la The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty treads similar territory, as it follows American military personnel on a mission in a Muslim country (Pakistan instead of Iraq). The mission in question is the capture – and possibly the killing – of Most Wanted Man Osama bin Laden, who ended up quite dead indeed.

Now, is the world any safer? Hardly. But more importantly, will Bigelow's thriller be a methodical reconstruction of events (however fictitious) in the style of Fred Zinnemann's The Day of the Jackal or a flag-waver along the lines of Operation Thunderbolt? And will Zero Dark Thirty earn Bigelow a second Oscar nod? Who the hell knows? (Though highly acclaimed upon its release, a few voices criticized The Hurt Locker for making the Iraqis as generic as, say, movie extras. Robert Scheer at Truthdig: “It is imperial hubris turned into an art form in which the Iraqi people appear as numbed bystanders when they are not deranged extras. It is a perverse tribute to the film's accuracy in portraying the insanity of the U.S. invasion—while ignoring its root causes—that the Iraqis are at no point treated as though they are important.”)

Zero Dark Thirty release date

Zero Dark Thirty opens on Dec. 19, in time for awards-season consideration. Written by Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker collaborator and fellow Oscar winner Mark Boal, the “hunt for Osama bin Laden” thriller features this year's Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Ehle, Mark Duplass, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler, Frank Grillo, Edgar Ramírez, Stephen Dillane, and James Gandolfini.

Also worth mentioning is that just this past week, the John Stockwell-directed Seal Team 6: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden, starring Twilight's Cam Gigandet, became the National Geographic Channel most-watched program of 2012.

Cam Gigandet Seal Team 6: The Raid on Osama Bin LadenCam Gigandet Seal Team 6: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden

Harvey Weinstein: From Seal Team 6: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden to Mitt Romney 'movie trailer'

Harvey Weinstein's Seal Team 6: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden, starring Twilight's Cam Gigandet, was a big hit for the National Geographic Channel this past weekend: an estimated 2.7 million viewers – and a 2012 record for the cable channel. Now comes another Harvey Weinstein production, a “movie trailer” narrated by Silver Linings Playbook's Bradley Cooper, a potential Best Actor Academy Award nominee for the upcoming The Weinstein Company release. Now, trailer for what? For a “movie” called Hindsight. The topic: Republican U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney. (Please scroll down to check out the Mitt Romney movie trailer. Above photo: Cam Gigandet Seal Team 6: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden.)

“Based on the spectacular success of Seal Team Six,” Harvey Weinstein explains in The Huffington Post, “several journalists have asked me what a film on Mitt Romney would look like. I told them it would definitely be a comedy, so I decided to get the Seal Team Six team back together. [Seal Team 6: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden director] John Stockwell and Meghan O'Hara have joined forces with me on the feature film Hindsight. Here is a little trailer of the work-in-progress so far… narrated by Bradley Cooper.”

Mitt Romney 'movie trailer'

In the trailer, Bradley Cooper says, “Lately it's hard to understand where Mitt Romney stands on anything.” Cooper then proceeds to point out Mitt Romney's views on various topics, ranging from healthcare to You – “the 47%” who believe they're entitled to healthcare, food, a place to live. (Missing, however, are Romney's views on porn.) Cooper's message to Romney: “We won't get fooled again.” Never mind the tens of millions of votes Romney will be getting today.

Producer Meghan O'Hara, by the way, is one of Michael Moore's collaborators on Fahrenheit 9/11, the Palme d'Or winner Weinstein's Miramax was to have distributed back in 2004 – until Disney's Michael Eisner put an end to that deal. For Seal Team 6, O'Hara contributed some controversial shots of current U.S. president Barack Obama, up for reelection today.

John Stockwell (among whose credits as an actor are Eddie and the Cruisers, Christine, and Top Gun), directed Seal Team 6: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden from a screenplay by Kendall Lampkin. Besides Cam Gigandet, Seal Team 6 features Anson Mount, Freddy Rodríguez, Xzibit, Kenneth Miller, Kathleen Robertson, and William Fichtner.

Upcoming Zero Dark Thirty

Kathryn Bigelow's similarly themed Zero Dark Thirty, written by Bigelow's The Hurt Locker collaborator Mark Boal, opens in limited release in North America on Dec. 19. The “hunt for Osama bin Laden” thriller features Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Mark Duplass, Chris Pratt, Frank Grillo, Stephen Dillane, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Ehle, James Gandolfini, and Edgar Ramírez.

'Farewell to Manzanar' DVD: Concentration camp for Japanese-Americans

Farewell to Manzanar Movie DVDFarewell to Manzanar, the story of a Japanese American family incarcerated alongside thousands of others in “internment camps” (a.k.a. concentration camps) during World War II, was made at a time when the American networks dared tackling difficult themes in prime time. Based on Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James Houston's autobiographical book, the John Korty-directed Farewell to Manzanar was initially shown on NBC in March 1976, eventually earning two Emmy nominations: Outstanding Writing in a Special Program - Drama or Comedy - Adaptation (the Houstons and Korty) and Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography for Entertainment Programming for a Special (Hiro Narita).

According to the Japanese American National Museum's press release, Wakatsuki Houston wrote Farewell to Manzanar after her nephew asked her about the camp where he was born. “Having not thought about camp since the war when she was a young girl,” adds the release, “Wakatsuki Houston had an emotional breakdown and then promised to write everything down. She turned to her husband James, who had never heard this story either, for help and the result was Farewell to Manzanar, which was published in 1973.”

Fresh off the immensely successful broadcast of the 1974 television movie The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, winner of nine Emmy Awards including Best Special, Best Director, and Best Actress (Cicely Tyson), John Korty helped to get off the ground the television adaptation of Farewell to Manzanar.

Japanese Americans in Farewell to Manzanar

Shot on location at the Tule Lake and Manzanar campsites, Farewell to Manzanar starred Yuki Shimoda and Nobu McCarthy. The supporting cast included 1966 Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nominee Mako (The Sand Pebbles), future Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nominee Pat Morita (The Karate Kid, 1984), Clyde Kusatsu, James Saito, Momo Yashima, Dori Takeshita, Akemi Kikumura, Gretchen Corbett, and Kip Niven. Besides cinematographer Hiro Narita, among the other Japanese Americans working behind the scenes on Farewell to Manzanar were composer Paul Chihara, assistant director Richard Hashimoto, and production designer Robert Kinoshita.

In 1988, more than a decade after the Farewell to Manzanar broadcast, the U.S. government officially apologized for its actions against American citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II. That same year, reparations to the survivors and their heirs began.

Farewell to Manzanar on DVD

Farewell to Manzanar remained an extremely hard-to-find title in the last three decades, but in late 2011 the Japanese American National Museum obtained licensing rights to the TV movie, which is now available on DVD.

In addition to Farewell to Manzanar, the DVD includes an excerpt of a video interview with Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, in which she explains how she came to write the book and discusses her and her husband's collaboration with John Korty in the making of the TV movie. The DVD also features the documentary Remembering Manzanar, which highlights first-person recollections of former camp inmates.

Catherine DeneuveCatherine Deneuve and Harvey Keitel to star in romantic drama set in Brussels and Los Angeles

Catherine Deneuve and Harvey Keitel, a romantic pair on screen? Well, if you can have Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu as lovers (e.g., in François Ozon's fantastic Potiche), why not Deneuve and Keitel? Dentel?

According to Variety, Deneuve, who recently turned 69, will be playing a retired divorcee who decides to leave Brussels for Los Angeles, accompanied by her decades-younger boyfriend. Why on earth she would choose to leave Belgium for California remains a mystery. Following the death of the boyfriend, she proceeds on her own with her L.A.-bound plans.

Once in town, Catherine Deneuve's character becomes a waitress. Does she get discovered by a movie producer? Nope. She meets Harvey Keitel's character instead. What Variety describes as a “passionate relationship” ensues.

This may sound like a comedy, but the trade magazine describes the Deneuve / Keitel vehicle as a romantic drama to be directed by movie first-timer – but stage veteran – Robert Cantarella. The untitled project should start shooting in fall 2013 in both Brussels and Los Angeles. It'll mark Deneuve and Keitel's first movie together.

Catherine Deneuve: Recent movies

Catherine Deneuve, who has been a top international star longer than Clint Eastwood or Harrison Ford or Barbra Streisand, is featured in the all-star comedy Astérix et Obélix : Au service de sa Majesté / Asterix and Obelix: God Save Britannia. Other recent Deneuve movies include Yannis Smaragdis' God Loves Caviar, as Empress Catherine II of Russia opposite Sebastian Koch and John Cleese; and Emmanuelle Bercot's Elle s'en va (“She Leaves”), featuring Claude Gensac and fellow movie veteran Mylène Demongeot.

Recently, Catherine Deneuve was announced as one of the leads in Pierre Salvadori's Dans la cour (“In the Courtyard”), in which she is to play a woman who becomes more than a little paranoid after noticing a crack in the wall of her living room.

 

Zero Dark Thirty poster: Columbia Pictures.

Cam Gigandet Seal Team 6: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden photo: Geronimo Nevada / The National Geographic Channel.

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