News & Politics

Director Kathryn Bigelow Zips In and Out of “Zero Dark Thirty” Screening

She welcomed an audience of mostly media and intel wonks and then split town.

Inside the Newseum before the invitation-only screening of Zero Dark Thirty. Photograph by Carol Ross Joynt.

Kathryn Bigelow zipped in and out of the well-attended
Zero Dark Thirty screening Tuesday night here in Washington. While the invitation stated that there
would be the screening “and discussion” with Bigelow and writer/producer
Mark Boal, Bigelow was gone by the time of the Q&A with ABC’s
Martha Raddatz. A person connected with the screening, who understands Washington as well as Hollywood,
said Bigelow flew back to New York after introducing the film at the Newseum event
and “left the rest of it to Mark.” He viewed her absence as smart in light of criticism
of the film from senators
John McCain and
Dianne Feinstein and “for navigating an Oscar campaign.”

Initially the screening was scheduled to happen on December 4, but in late November
that date was postponed to January 8, with no explanation. In the intervening time
the film—which tracks the hunt for Osama bin Laden—collected a fair share of controversy,
much of it from Capitol Hill.

Bigelow slipped quietly into the pre-screening reception in the Newseum’s main lobby, possibly from a side entrance rather than the front door, hanging close to Boal, who also worked with her on the film The Hurt Locker, which won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director for Bigelow and Best Original Screenplay for Boal. They are also rumored to be a couple. Before the screening they were escorted to the rope line at the building entrance to pose for a swarm of photographers. There were protesters outside on the sidewalk, carrying placards decrying torture—waterboarding is shown in the film—but they were not a large group, nor very vocal.

During the screening, Boal was spotted having dinner at the Source restaurant, which
is next door, with actor
Chris Pratt, who plays a Navy SEAL in the film, and others involved with the project. But no
sign of Bigelow, who reportedly was already on her way to New York. Boal returned
to the Newseum for the discussion.