Back in March, we reported that Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow had settled on directing a film based on U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, an America soldier who left his Army base, was captured by the Taliban, and then tortured and held prisoner for five years. Bergdahl’s release as part of a prisoner exchange became clouded with controversy as the soldier deserted his unit after becoming disillusioned with America’s presence in Afghanistan. We reported that Bigelow would again be working with her Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal to handle the script.
Now it looks like Boal has found a surprising partner in the hit podcast series, Serial. Sarah Koenig’s podcast, which spun off from This American Life, exploded in the zeitgeist last year as listeners tried to crack the case of Adnan Syed, who had perhaps been falsely convicted of murdered his ex-girlfriend in 1999. The expectations for the second season of the podcast are sky-high, and it looks like Serial is going in a very different direction as Deadline reports that the show will also tackle Bergdahl’s case.
However, Serial will be working alongside Boal as well as Hugo Lindgren, the former New York Times editor who runs his company, Page One. The two will be “on-air narrators of a series that will begin later this year,” which makes this an interesting collaboration. I suppose Boal has become a bit of an expert in trying to research the film for Bigelow (who, it should be noted, will not be involved in the second season of Serial), and it should be interesting to see what he brings to the podcast and how that will ultimately inform his script for the untitled Bergdahl pic.
Deadline also notes that Bigelow’s movie, along with a rival pic directed by Todd Field (In the Bedroom) are both in a holding pattern because neither has a third act since Bergdahl’s case is still ongoing. That doesn’t seem to be a problem for Serial, which established in its first season that its appeal comes from watching journalism in motion rather than coming to a concrete conclusion (people who thought the final episode would conclusively declare Syed innocent or guilty were sorely disappointed).