The Navy SEAL operation that killed Osama bin Laden gave the president his only significant approval bounce in the last year. Now a new film about that raid by the filmmaking team behind The Hurt Locker has some Republicans calling for an investigation into whether the administration shared classified information in order to give the president a campaign boost. Though the as-yet-unnamed movie is still in the pre-production stages, Sony pictures is already publicizing its release Oct. 12, 2012, just weeks before the presidential election.
Both the filmmakers and the White House insist the movie and its release date have nothing to do with Obama's bid for another term. But among the skeptical is long-time filmmaker Lionel Chetwynd, whose political history-themed work often requires him to solicit access to military and government intelligence. In an Aug. 12 Pajamas Media column Chetwynd pointed out that even though director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal violated Pentagon regulations while making The Hurt Locker-a move that usually results in a permanent Pentagon shut-out-Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers, an Obama appointee, granted the pair multiple meetings. "To be given that level of access to the Pentagon after previous bad faith by the filmmakers is such a departure from current practice, one is forced to suspect significant pressure was applied to the Pentagon by its civilian political masters," wrote Chetwynd.
Also at issue is who is footing the bill for the project. On Aug. 14, Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., introduced the Stop Subsidizing Hollywood Act to block any taxpayer funding of the film. Bigelow and Boal have said that the estimated $75 million project will be independently financed by Annapurna Pictures, a production company founded in 2011 and run by 25-year-old Megan Ellison, daughter of Oracle founder Larry Ellison.