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Tue Jul 28 07:50:40 SAST 2015

Star pays tribute to CIA agent

Sapa-AFP | 19 December, 2012 00:05
Jessica Chastain. File photo

JESSICA Chastain, tipped for an Oscar for her role in the Osama bin Laden manhunt movie Zero Dark Thirty, says it should serve as a tribute to the CIA agent key to finding the al-Qaeda chief.

The movie by Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow tells the story of the decade-long search for Bin Laden after September 11 2001, climaxing in last year's dramatic and deadly raid on his hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The CIA agent known as Maya, played by Chastain, is seen driving her bosses relentlessly to focus on leads that eventually identify a courier who totes messages to and from the Abbottabad compound.

"I've never had really a responsibility like this. I'm playing a real woman, and that's a huge responsibility because I really admire Maya and I don't want to feel I betrayed her," said the US actress, using her character's pseudonym.

"She can't take credit for what she accomplished because she's under cover. She can't call out the press and say 'It was me.' So making this movie is like thanking her and giving her credit for what she's done," she said.

Bigelow, whose 2008 The Hurt Locker won six Oscars, had already begun work on the Bin Laden film when US commandos stormed the al-Qaeda leader's compound.

The project had focused mainly on the decade-long hunt, and the agent at the centre of it. But the movie was transformed by events into the tale of one of the biggest US military successes since 9/11.

The film - named after military-speak for the time of the nocturnal Abbottabad raid - also pulls no punches in showing the use of torture and harsh interrogation techniques such as water-boarding to force captives to speak.


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