It wasn’t that long ago that no one would even consider making a film about 9/11. Now there’s a race to get one into theaters first.
Oliver Stone’s still-untitled film about the last two people to be pulled from the rubble of the Twin Towers has been given a release date of the 11th – of August. "First of all, you wanted to be out before Sept. 11," said Paramount suit-filler Wayne Lewellen. "You really didn’t want to be on that date because you don’t want it to appear that we were trying to exploit it." One month, it seems, is the exploitation threshold.
Honestly, though, I don’t get the big deal. Unless the movie is in and of itself exploitative, why not release it timed with an anniversary of the event? Resonance can be gained – if the film is good.
As for the race to theaters, Universal is busting ass to get Paul Greengrass’ 9/11 film, currently titled Flight 93, into theaters before Stone’s. Early reports had that movie, which is set on the plane that crashed into a field, taking place in real time.
Meanwhile, Shattered Glass writer and director Billy Ray is working on a script based on the book 102 Minutes, a detailed accounting of what went on inside the Twin Towers between the first plane impact and the eventual collapse of the buildings. Ray is getting started on directing his true-story Breach, about an FBI agent who worked for the Russians, so 102 Minutes will most likely not be in the running to beat Stone to theaters.