EXCLUSIVE: New Republic Pictures has optioned New York Times best-selling author, historian and journalist Garrett M. Graff’s Politico article about the hunt for Osama bin Laden to adapt as a feature film.
Graff’s article follows the plan to kill the al Qaeda leader—from the spycraft to the assault to its bizarre political backdrop—as told by the people in the room. Graff conducted extensive interviews with nearly 30 key intelligence and national security leaders, White House staff, and presidential aides, including some who had never been on the record before.
“The story of how US intelligence and the Obama White House planned and okayed the raid of bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound is one of the most telling, fascinating, and secret chapters of the modern American presidency—filled with dramatic, consequential leadership lessons and one that tells us so much about ourselves, our leaders, and our country. As we reckon with the legacy of 9/11, the 20-year War on Terror, and an amorphous enemy overseas, the bin Laden raid stands apart as perhaps America’s greatest and last real victory,” Graff said.
“I’m excited to partner with New Republic and with Brad Fischer to show America a side of the White House they’ve never seen before,” he added.
“Garrett Graff’s oral history is an absolutely riveting, blow-by-blow, first person account of how the U.S. intelligence community and the Obama White House pieced together and executed a stunning, near year-long, highly covert, international capture or kill operation, capping close to 10 years of dead-end leads in the global manhunt for Osama bin Laden; that they did so in absolute secrecy, and how, in this age, is itself totally inconceivable. About five minutes into Garrett’s piece, which literally reads like the pages are on fire, it became alarmingly clear both that no one had made this movie, despite whatever titles may come to mind, and that it could be one of the most tension-filled, high stakes cinematic procedurals of our time – a high bar we can’t wait to tackle,” said New Republic Pictures President Bradley Fischer who is producing the project with the studio’s founder Brian Oliver.
Graff is a journalist of more than a dozen years covering politics, technology, and national security. His most recent book, The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11, ranked No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Graff compiled the voices of 500 Americans as they experienced that tragic day.