Kathryn Bigelow: "You don't think of a young woman being a terrorist-hunter"

In her first interview with 'The Guardian', 'Zero Dark Thirty' director, Kathryn Bigelow, 61,  says she stands by her scriptwriter Mark Boal's interviews with CIA operatives. "I feel very confident with his reporting, very confident with my handling of his reporting."

This week the movie received five Oscar nominations including  Best Picture and Best Actress for Jessica Chastain. Boal also wrote 'The Hurt Locker' (2010)  which made Bigelow the first woman to win a best director Oscar.

But some say new thriller, 'Zero Dark Thirty', about the 10-year CIA hunt for Osama bin Laden, endorses torture. Last Friday a cinema in Hollywood was picked by a group - protesting with hoods over their heads. While The interfaith United For Justice and Peace, say that Hollywood stars, Martin Sheen and Ed Asner, have issued an appeal to other actors to vote their conscience on whether to reward the movie with a win on Oscar night.

In the interview Bigelow says her aim was "to be faithful to the research, to not have an agenda, to hope that people go to see the movie and judge for themselves".

The film which stars Chastain, Jennifer Ehle and Jason Clarke is "a very human piece and a story of determination", she insists. "It's a real tribute to the men and women in the intelligence community who obviously have to, by the nature of their job, work in complete secrecy. It's a nod of respect and great gratitude."

She adds:  "Women in defence, I think, are sort of the unsung heroes. I was first of all surprised to learn that women were at the centre of this hunt. And I was sort of surprised that I was surprised. You don't think of a young woman being a terrorist-hunter."

Filmed in three months, with India and Jordan standing in for Pakistan and Afghanistan, 'Zero Dark Thirty' includes real audio from 9/11 and scenes of brutal "enhanced interrogation" of detainees by the CIA. The major expense for the $20m movie was recreating the compound in Pakistan where Bin Laden was discovered.

'Zero Dark Thirty' is released in UK on 25 January.

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