Hollywood Elsewhere supports the just-announced lawsuit filed by Oscar-winning screenwriter Marl Boal against the U.S. government. It was filed in response to a threat by a military prosecutor in Bowe Bergdahl‘s upcoming court martial to subpoena Boal’s taped interviews with the Army deserter and former Taliban P.O.W. prisoner of war. Boal has been writing a screenplay about Bergdahl’s story, which may be directed down the road by longtime creative partner Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty).
But I ask again with all sincerity — who the hell wants to see a movie about Bergdahl? What is it that I’m missing about this guy that supports an admiring or even an interesting portrait?
I’ve said before that I don’t want to see a film that portrays Bergdahl as a thouightful, perceptive anti-war humanist who found the courage not to fight in Afghanistan and to abandon his post only to be captured by the Taliban, etc. I’ve come to suspect that Bowe’s desertion was an act of a mentally unstable asshole, particularly since his desertion led to a search party that resulted in the deaths of fellow combatants. The general assessment is that Bergdahl is not made of uncommon valor. He appears to have been mentally unstable at the time of the desertion. He walked off his post without even carrying a weapon, for Chrissake.
Boal has filed the suit to prevent the “nearly unprecedented” move by the military prosecutor in the Bergdahl case to force a private citizen into military court to relinquish legally protected materials for an ongoing military trial.
“The threatened subpoena from the North Carolina-based military prosecutor against a civilian is unlawful and inconsistent with the First Amendment, the common law, Department of Justice guidelines for the issuance of subpoenas to reporters and state protections for reporters,” the lawsuit says.
“Boal fully supports the military justice system and believes that Bergdahl has to face the music in a fair judicial process,” said Boal’s attorney Jean-Paul Jassy. “But Boal is a civilian and a journalist, and under the First Amendment, he should not be hauled into a military court to divulge his unpublished and confidential materials. We are asking the federal court in Los Angeles to protect Mark Boal’s constitutional rights.”