On Sunday, November 4, two days before the Presidential Election, the National Geographic Channel will broadcast “Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden.” Directed by John Stockwell, the film depicts, obviously, the events leading up to the killing of the al-Qaeda leader by a team of United States Navy SEALs on May 2, 2011.
Not only can the movie be regarded as a spoiler for Kathryn Bigelow’s much higher-profile “Zero Dark Thirty,” which Sony’s Columbia Pictures will open theatrically on December 19, but it can potentially give a down-to-the-wire electoral boost to President Obama, who ordered Operation Neptune spear to eliminate the 9/11 mastermind.
That the Weinstein Company paid $2 million at the Cannes Film Festival for the distribution rights of “Seal Team Six” (then known as “Code Name Geronimo”) lends credence to the idea that the film’s airdate is strategic, since Harvey Weinstein is a major supporter of the President. What doesn’t quite make sense is the fact that NGC is owned primarily owned by Fox Cable Networks, a division of Rupert Murdoch’s pro-Republican News Corporation.
The timing of the broadcast isn’t likely to please Murdoch or the Fox News team, especially since Columbia pointedly moved the release date of “Zero Dark Thirty” from October to after the election to avoid allegations that it was a potential vote-getter for the President.
The cast of “Seal Team Six” includes Cam Gigandet, Anson Mount, Robert Knepper, William Fichtner, Freddy Rodriquez, the rapper Xzibit, Kathleen Robertson, “American Pie” alumnus Eddie Kaye Thomas, and Kenneth Miller. Written by Kendall Lampkin, it was vetted, Deadline reports, by such experts as a “retired Navy Seal, a top CIA operative and one of the most renowned bin Laden historians.”
Unlike Bigelow’s movie, however, “Seal Team Six” hasn’t been plagued by accusations made by Republican conspiracy theorists that it was made with the help of classified information leaked by the Obama administration to the filmmakers.
NGC’s willingness to broadcast “Seal Team Six,” the first movie it will show depicting real events, “underlines,” Deadline says, the company’s “new emphasis on narrative historical programming. The network is making a big entry into the arena with the upcoming ‘Killing Lincoln,’ a two-hour historical thriller.”
Based on a book by Martin Dugard and Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly, “Killing Lincoln” stars Billy Campbell as Abraham Lincoln, Geraldine Hughes as Mary Todd Lincoln, and Jesse Johnson as John Wilkes Booth. Due to be aired next year, it will be narrated and hosted by Tom Hanks, third cousin four times removed of Nancy Hank Lincoln, President Lincoln’s birth mother.
Below: trailer for "Seal Team Six"