Kathryn Bigelow Developing Jihadi Recruitment Drama for HBO

     December 12, 2015


While filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow’s name seems to pop up quickly whenever folks are thinking of female directors who would be well suited to helm giant franchise properties, the Oscar-winning director remains committed to more difficult, controversial subject matter that most filmmakers wouldn’t even think of touching. Per THR, the Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty helmer is currently developing an HBO pilot that aims to “draw open an iron curtain behind which viewers will see the highly impenetrable world of Jihadi recruitment.” The series will take place in Minnesota, which happens to be one of the leading jihadist recruitment areas in the United States. This is incredibly timely material to be sure, and one that will no doubt ruffle a few feathers.

Bigelow is teaming with rapper/poet K’naan Warsame on the potential series, who will write the script, executive produce, and direct should HBO order a pilot. Bigelow will serve as executive producer alongside former HBO president Carolyn Strauss, with the filmmaker returning to the network after helming the pilot The Miraculous Year in 2010, which did not go forward to series.


Image via Sony Pictures

In the time since Bigelow’s brilliant Zero Dark Thirty, the filmmaker has been working with her Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty scribe Mark Boal on her next film: a movie about controversial U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdal. The development of that film took a surprising turn this week, when the second season of the addictive podcast Serial returned with its new subject: Bowe Bergdal. Not only that, but Serial host Sarah Koenig is teaming up with Boal for this season, augmenting her own reporting with phone interviews Boal conducted with Bergdal for the development of his and Bigelow’s film. It appears we’ll be getting insight into Bergdal’s story in the form of both Serial and a dramatized feature film from Bigelow and Boal.

It’s unclear how far along this HBO project is, but it’s certainly subject matter that could prove incredibly relevant and, hopefully, a little revelatory. Whether the project gets order to the pilot or series stage at this point is uncertain, but I sure hope we get another Bigelow project soon.


Image via Sony Pictures