UPDATE: Spielberg’s rep has told The Wrap (via Cinema Blend) that Spielberg and DreamWorks Entertainment will not be optioning the book.
According to The New York Post, Steven Spielberg can’t let Kathryn Bigelow have all the fun when it comes down to hunting a mass murderer on dialysis. The director is in talks to purchase the film rights to the forthcoming autobiography by a Navy SEAL using the pen name Mark Owen, “No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden.”
The book is out on September 11th, but it’s already in the middle of controversy as Fox News dangerously reported the Navy SEAL’s real name, essentially making him a target for retaliation, and SEALs chief Admiral Bill McRaven (who may have the best name of a US Navy Commander ever) has warned that the book might mean legal action against the author for revealing classified information.
It would be the third Bin Laden killing movie in development. We’ll see Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty later this year, and the Weinsteins are developing Code Name Geronimo with director John Stockwell, but Spielberg brings an interesting pedigree of historical fiction to the table. His and Bigelow’s tones couldn’t be more different (even while working within the framework of combat), so with any luck, we’ll get more than one compelling story of how the 9/11 mastermind fell. Of course, at this point it’s unclear whether Spielberg would be interested in director or producing, or whether a deal will be signed at all. They may be waiting for Bigelow to test the waters, but I’d wager that Zero Dark Thirty will prove what we already know – that audiences are anxious to see this event shared.