Jessica Chastain isn’t surprised that “Zero Dark Thirty,” her upcoming film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, has become a political hot potato months before it hits screens.
“I knew the second I read the script and I was learning things, I knew that it was going to be a hot-button issue,” Chastain told TheWrap about the new film from Oscar-winning “The Hurt Locker” director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal.
The actress said that with a subject like the killing of the world’s most notorious terrorist, it was nearly inevitable that “Zero” would be controversial.
And that likelihood became a certainty after the killing of bin Laden emerged as a key campaign issue for President Obama. The movie “Zero Dark Thirty” hits theaters on Dec. 19 — a month after the presidential race is decided.
Indeed, questions about whether the Defense Department and the CIA gave special treatment to Bigelow and Mark Boal in order to bolster the administration’s profile have become favorite political talking points of conservatives in the lead-up to the election.
Over the summer, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, called for an investigation into whether the director was granted access to confidential materials.
Charges that the administration is exploiting the bin Laden killing for political gain also have made their way into the Republican Party platform.
But Chastain insisted that the filmmakers were concerned with accuracy, not propaganda.
“Even when we were shooting, there was great care to be as respectful to the story as possible,” she told TheWrap. “For me, that was the most important thing: that we tell the right story for history’s sake.”
Chastain, who will make her Broadway debut Nov. 1 in “The Heiress,” the stage adaptation of Henry James’ “Washington Square,” promised that the film will be a suspenseful ride.
However, she said she has sworn to keep all details related to “Zero Dark Thirty” confidential — and cannot even reveal what part she plays in the hotly anticipated film, something that runs against her penchant for blabbing.
“I’m not allowed to discuss it, which is so bad because I hate keeping secrets,” Chastain said. “Whenever someone tells me, ‘I have a secret,’ I’m like, ‘don’t tell me,’ because I’m the worst at keeping secrets.”
She did let a few clues slip, though, likening the suspense drama to an earlier decade in moviemaking when films like “All the President’s Men” and “Three Days of the Condor” raised the bar for the thriller genre.
“I’m so excited for people to see the film, because it really reminds me of a film from the ’70s,” Chastain said. “There is so much intelligence in the script, and there’s a light shone on something that people will be surprised about.”
The film, which tracks an elite cadres of intelligence and military operatives on their decade long quest to find bin Laden co-stars Joel Edgerton (“Warrior”) and Mark Strong (“Green Lantern”).
Chastain, who was recently seen in the Prohibition drama “Lawless,” will soon appear opposite James Franco in “Tar,” a biopic about the poet C.K. Williams, and “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby,” a two-part examination of a marriage told from both the husband an