There have been a few documentaries chronicling the May 2011 raid by SEAL Team Six that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden, and now we are coming to a point where feature-length dramatic films are being made on the subject. Next month, the film Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, will be released in theaters. But before that, National Geographic Channel (NGC) will be airing on the small screen SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden, making its world premiere on the network this Sunday, Nov. 4, at 8pm ET/PT.
While some Republican supporters believe NGC may be playing politics by airing a film bringing to mind one of the defining moments from President Obama’s first term just two days before he is up for re-election (the film comes from The Weinstein Company, whose co-chairman Harvey Weinstein is an Obama supporter, adding further fuel to the conspiracy-theory fire), the timing makes sense from a ratings standpoint for NGC, and the film will also be made available for viewing to Netflix members in the United States 24 hours after its NGC premiere.
“National Geographic Channel prides itself on giving our viewers exclusive access to truly groundbreaking moments from the past, present and future,” says David Lyle, CEO of National Geographic Channels. “Harvey’s film is a perfect match for what people expect from our network — content that is socially relevant, factually based and entertaining as hell.”
SEAL Team Six is produced by Nicolas Chartier (Oscar winner for The Hurt Locker), is directed by John Stockwell (Into the Blue, Turistas, Crazy/Beautiful), and stars Cam Gigandet, Anson Mount, Freddy Rodriguez, Xzibit, Kathleen Robertson, Eddie Kay Thomas and Kenneth Miller, with Robert Knepper and William Fichtner. Although produced for theatrical release, SEAL Team Six received a preemptive bid for release on NGC, and marks the network’s first broadcast of a feature film inspired by real-life events.
When the rumored whereabouts of bin Laden are revealed, the CIA readies a team of seasoned U.S. Navy SEALs for the mission of a lifetime. Despite inconclusive evidence that bin Laden is inside the compound, and ignoring the possible ramifications of an unannounced attack on Pakistani soil, the Pentagon orders the attack. The SEAL team bands together to complete their mission of justice.
According to NGC, the events in SEAL Team Six were vetted by a team of experts, including a recently retired Navy SEAL, a top CIA operative and one of the most renowned bin Laden historians. Some aspects of the characterizations in the film have been dramatized for creative reasons, but NGC says the core story remains an accurate portrayal of the event.
“I think many of us, myself included, have our own ideas of how everything unfolded that night,” says Harvey Weinstein. “This portrayal of events that took place that night is moving, to say the very least. I anticipate audiences will be as captivated as I was from the beginning to the end, and I’m extremely proud as an American citizen to play a role in making sure this stunning portrayal of very recent American history is available in as many homes as possible.”
SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden premieres Nov. 4 at 8pm ET/PT on National Geographic Channel.
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