With Spotlight winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards, it seems that we're entering a new era of kickass movies about journalists. Case in point: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot , Tina Fey's new movie based on the memoirs of Kim Barker. In the film, out Mar. 4, Fey plays a fictionalized version of Barker, a correspondent for The Chicago Tribune whose book The Taliban Shuffle chronicled her experiences reporting in Afghanistan. Though having Fey play you in a movie based on your bestseller is the dream for many of us, where Kim Barker is now is actually just as interesting — because the answer is everywhere.
Barker left her job at the Tribune in 2009 when the paper began cutting its foreign correspondents, and according to a profile by her former employer, she went straight from the war zone to a room of her own. Wrote Tribune reporter David Heinzman earlier this year,
"She wanted to stay in Afghanistan and considered taking a job outside of journalism. She was in a quandary. She did not want to come back to the Tribune's metro desk and she did not want to leave journalism. In the end, she did neither. Barker quit the Tribune, hung around Kabul briefly and then won a fellowship that gave her time to write. She set about working on the book that would become The Taliban Shuffle."
The book became a big success and was optioned into the movie out this month. Barker has been busy these days promoting the film, but she's also stayed in journalism, becoming a reporter for The New York Times ' Metro department. Since 2014, she's covered issues among the city's homeless and investigated violent drug cultures, among other subjects.
In a recent interview with NPR, Barker spoke with Weekend Edition's Rachel Martin about the upcoming movie and its impact on her career, giving her opinions about Fey playing her on-screen version. Said the journalist,
It's really weird, you know, because this book - I wrote it - you know, I wrote it years ago. And now it's getting this second life, and I'm so excited about that, you know. And it's - Tina Fey's amazing. She's smart. She's funny. I think, like, when I first found out that this was actually happening, I just said to people - yeah, guess who's going to play me in the movie. And I was sort of kidding because you never knew if this was going to happen. But I said guess who'd going to play me in the movie. And people would say - I don't know. There's a lot of people out there? And I said - smart, funny. Tina Fey.
Clearly, Barker is just as excited as the rest of us to see Fey in the new movie. Can you blame her?