A Benghazi Movie Is in Its First Stages & This Is All Happening Way Too Fast

Paramount is attempting to buy the rights to a not-yet-released firsthand account of the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, Deadline.com reports. The book, according to Deadline, is titled Thirteen Hours: a Firsthand Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi and will be published by Grand Central Publishing (part of the Hachette Group). It's being written by Mitchell Zuckoff, an author who is working with the surviving members of the Annex Security Team.

The proximity of the Benghazi attacks to the publication of Thirteen Hours and subsequent film echo the time lapse between the killing of Osama bin Laden by US SEAL Team Six and the release of Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty. Bin Laden's capture was May 2, 2011; Bigelow's film saw its release in December of 2012. The distance between the event and the film's release — only 19 months — generated controversy, but it wasn't "too soon" for the American public. It was critically acclaimed and was nominated for five Academy Awards.

Zero Dark Thirty is a film about a historical event with an indisputable ending — bin Laden was killed — but whatever film is made about Benghazi, however, will have too much ambiguity to wade through. For that reason it is, unlike Zero Dark Thirty, too soon.

Because the book has not been released yet, it's difficult to discern what the film will entail. The most recent Senate Intelligence Committee report on the terrorist attacks in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 do not reveal much more information than has previously been released. Essentially, Benghazi remains a vicious partisan event in Congress. Republicans are quick to call it a failure of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration; Democrats blame Republicans for sensationalizing it. How can a movie be made of an event that is still being viscerally contended?

Deadline has these details about the book that Paramount is negotiating the rights to:

Relying on the security team’s exclusive firsthand accounts, Thirteen Hours presents a nonfiction narrative of the attack on the U.S. Special Mission Compound and a nearby CIA Annex in Benghazi on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11. Four Americans were killed in the attack, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Security team members whose actions are recounted in the book and who will be featured in the film have been honored by the U.S. State Department and the CIA for their heroism.

The film, though based on a non-fiction narrative, is still art, and its writer Chuck Hogan will have artistic license, meaning his interpretation of the book might become truth for many movie-goers.

Many details of the Benghazi attack remain painful and unresolved; unlike Zero Dark Thirty, any film about Benghazi would be a critical look at what was, ultimately, a failure, in that American lives were taken. It seems unwise for Chuck Hogan to take on such a project, unless he fully understands and respects the role he assumes in shaping how Americans will view the attack after seeing his film.

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