Fascinating... (And from the NYT!)
* * *
Michael Bay, known for four “Transformers” films and an action-romance about the Pearl Harbor attack, made a promise to Mitchell Zuckoff on beginning a screen version of the story Mr. Zuckoff told in his book “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi.”
“This is going to be my most real movie,” Mr. Zuckoff recalls Mr. Bay saying.
Next week will tell whether the harsh realities of a 2012 attack on a United States diplomatic compound in Libya...
* A 9/11 ANNIVERSARY ATTACK... ONE OF SEVERAL 9/11 ANNIVERSARY ATTACKS ON U.S. TARGETS... ATTACKS ON A DAY, ONE DAY OF ALL DAYS EACH YEAR, WHEN OUR ENTIRE NATIONAL DEFENSE AND FOREIGN POLICY MOVERS AND SHAKERS SHOULD (SHOULD!) HAVE BEEN AND SHOULD EVERY YEAR BE ON HIGH ALERT!
* FOLKS... ANYONE THINK IT'S JUST AN "OVERSIGHT" THAT THE AUTHOR OF THIS PIECE NEGLECTS TO REMIND US THAT THE ATTACK(S) TOOK PLACE ON... 9/11... 2012?
...are the stuff of transition for Mr. Bay, and cinematic catharsis for viewers whose understanding of the assault, in which Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed, has been blurred by partisan politics since the night it occurred.
* Hmm... JUST "THE ASSAULT?" NOT "THE TERRORIST ASSAULT?" NOT THE "OBVIOUSLY PRE-PLANNED TERRORIST ASSAULT?"
The action-drama, called “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” will have its premiere next Tuesday in Texas at AT&T Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys play their home games. The screening is a benefit for the Shadow Warriors Project, which supports private military security personnel, and other groups.
Three days later the film will be released by Paramount Pictures, hoping to capture a January audience that made past hits of the combat-themed films “Lone Survivor” and “American Sniper.”
To hear those involved with “13 Hours” tell it, success demands something more than ticket sales.
“This is what we experienced, we hope you listen to it,” said Mark Geist, who was wounded while helping, as a security consultant, to defend a Central Intelligence Agency annex that was attacked in tandem with the diplomatic compound.
One of five survivors who collaborated on both Mr. Zuckoff’s book and Mr. Bay’s film, Mr. Geist said he and his peers hoped the movie would help close rather than reopen debate about political motives in Washington’s lack of readiness for and response to a 13-hour attack that began on Sept. 11, 2012.
“The political side of it needs to focus on the truth, and not focus on the spin,” said Mr. Geist, who spoke by telephone last week, and is often called Oz, both in life and in the film.
“People need to listen to the people on the ground,” he added.
* "PEOPLE ON THE GROUND" HAVE REPEATEDLY "OUTED" OBAMA, CLINTON, PANETTA, AND THE REST OF THAT VILE CREW FOR THEIR INCOMPETENCE AND DISHONESTY... BUT THE MSM PROVIDED COVER FOR THE SCUM WHEN AND WHERE IT COUNTED.
While Mr. Geist did not address specific failures in the official response to the attack, the film bluntly portrays several. The film’s operatives openly question inadequate security measures at the diplomatic compound in advance of the attack. C.I.A. staffers deride and disregard the operatives, and play down the dangers in Libya. Requested air support never arrives.
* "FUNNY" HOW THE NYT DOWNPLAYED THIS DURING THEIR COVERAGE OF THE VARIOUS HEARINGS, HUH? BUT NOW... IT'S OK TO REPORT THE TRUTH?
(*SNORT OF DISGUST*)
Still, Mr. Bay shared the conviction of the operatives, Mr. Zuckoff and Erwin Stoff, a producer of the film, that partisan politics should generally be avoided. Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state when the attack took place — and who has been harshly criticized by Republicans who have tried to tie the attack to what they contend was her mismanagement — is never mentioned.
(*JUST SHAKING MY HEAD*)
President Obama is only a fleeting voice in “13 Hours.”
* WELL... I SUPPOSE THAT'S UNDERSTANDABLE... AFTER ALL, HOW EXCITING WOULD IT BE TO SHOW THE PRESIDENT SLEEPING WHILE AMERICANS WERE BEING MURDERED AND AMERICAN CONSULATES AND EMBASSIES WERE UNDER ATTACK...
In hours of Congressional testimony, Mrs. Clinton has accepted general responsibility for security at the compound, but has said that specific decisions about its protection were made by her department’s security professionals.
In what might be one political sore spot, a printed crawl at the picture’s end points out that in the years after the attack, Libya became a stronghold for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
But for the most part, “13 Hours,” with its focus on “ground truth,” is an unabashed celebration of the armed operatives, who were defying orders when they moved to defend the diplomatic compound.
* "WHO WERE DEFYING ORDERS..."
* FOLKS... THIS IS AMAZING... THIS FROM THE SAME NYT THAT BASICALLY PORTRAYED THE OBAMA-CLINTON RESPONSE AS FINE AND DANDY - "THE BEST THAT THEY COULD DO UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES" - AND POOH-POOHED ALL WHO ASSERTED (THE TRUTH!) THAT CONTRARY TO THEIR CLAIMS, OBAMA, CLINTON, PANETTA, AND THE REST ACTIVELY REFUSED TO ATTEMPT TO RESCUE OUR PEOPLE!
One of the original group, Tyrone Woods, known as Rone, died. Along with Ambassador Stevens, the other Americans killed were Sean Smith, a State Department communications officer, and Glen Doherty, known as "Bub," a security contractor who joined in defending the annex after flying from Tripoli.
To an unusual degree, the security operatives on the ground in Benghazi became a force in creating the “13 Hours” film, even before Mr. Bay agreed to direct it.
In an interview last week, Mr. Stoff described the process leading to the film. In May 2013, he said, Richard Abate, a book agent who works with him at the 3 Arts Entertainment management and production company, spoke with Kris Paronto, known as Tanto, another security operative in Libya. That led to conversations with five survivors, including Mr. Geist; John Tiegen, known as Tig; and two others who have not been publicly identified. (In the film, they are called Jack Silva, played by John Krasinski, and Boon, played by David Denman.)
The five quickly resolved to retell their experiences in a book. Mr. Abate asked Mr. Zuckoff, a client and longtime journalist, to write it. Mr. Zuckoff initially declined, partly because the proposed eight-month delivery schedule was tight, and partly from wariness of political crosscurrents around the Benghazi story.
“I didn’t want to wade into that,” Mr. Zuckoff said. But direct conversations with the operatives persuaded him otherwise.
“You realize, I can’t not tell their story,” he said.
Simultaneously, Mr. Stoff recruited Chuck Hogan (who wrote a novel that became Ben Affleck’s “The Town”) to write the film and organize a pitch. Four of the five operatives, Mr. Stoff said, joined the writer and producer in presenting the project to Hollywood studios.
“Everybody wanted to hear it,” Mr. Stoff said. “But only Paramount had the courage to want to make it.”
In July 2014, Paramount executives showed the script to Mr. Bay, who has worked with the studio on four “Transformers” films, and is preparing to direct a fifth. Mr. Stoff told them not to waste their time: Mr. Bay, he knew, had just turned down a competing Benghazi project. But Mr. Bay was intrigued, and agreed to direct.
“I just wanted to do it justice,” Mr. Bay said, speaking by telephone this week. Mr. Bay said that he saw the project as a way to honor the selfless behavior of combat participants, which he earlier witnessed among Navy SEALs when he worked with several of them on “The Rock” in the mid-1990s.
A line on the billboards for “13 Hours” captures Mr. Bay’s enduring fascination with heroics under pressure — something evident in his previous films, like “Bad Boys,” “The Rock,” “Armageddon,” “Pearl Harbor” and the “Transformers” series. “When everything went wrong, six men had the courage to do what was right,” it says.
* AND AS FOR THE "UNHEROES" IN WASHINGTON - OBAMA, CLINTON, PANETTA, ET AL - SIMPLY PRETEND THEY HAD NO ROLE?
(*JUST SHAKING MY HEAD*)
The bleak outcome in Benghazi, Mr. Stoff noted, edged Mr. Bay onto what for him was new ground. “His movies always present the world as you wish it would be,” Mr. Stoff said. “This is tonally a very different kind of movie.”
Mr. Geist said he regarded “13 Hours” as an authentic portrayal of the attack and response.
Not every detail, he said, is clinically correct. One or another bit of rooftop action, he said, may have been altered. But “it’s as authentic, I think, as you’re going to be able to get,” Mr. Geist said.