Variety's Timothy Gray argues that a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into how the CIA cooperated with "Zero Dark Thirty" is the kind of chill on speech that goes back to the blacklist.
He writes, "'Zero Dark Thirty' is the first pic to be singled out for D.C. investigation since the blacklist era more than 60 years ago.
"The horror of the HUAC blacklist is not just that it occurred but that people allowed it to continue for so long. The 'Zero' saga is a modern variation of a blacklist: It's one of many smear campaigns that spread like wildfire in a digital world and that the mainstream media then picks up but never follows through on the outcome."
Boal has been ever more vocal about the Senate investigation, telling a group of college students this week that "it's fine for some senators to say they think I'm wrong about some of the scenes depicted in the movie. It's an entirely different matter for them to launch an investigation over it."
The Senate investigation is of the CIA's cooperation, but Gray reports that Boal may very well be called to testify, which raises the further question: Will that appearance before the committee be in public, or classified for national security reasons?
Boal's argument is that filmmakers in the future may be more reluctant to pursue projects that require intense, investigative research if they have the threat of congressional scrutiny hanging over their heads. Studios may think twice about taking on a movie that offends the very lawmakers their corporate overlords often need to champion their interests. But Sony's investment appears to be paying off: Its worldwide box office is so far over $90 million.