On Thursday, Reuters hosted a private screening of the new film, “Shock and Awe,” Rob Reiner’s latest political drama chronicling a group of journalists working for Knight Ridder newspapers in the build up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Reporters Jonathan Landay (played by Woody Harrelson) and Warren Strobel (played by James Marsden), working with the support of their editor John Walcott (Rob Reiner) and famous war correspondent Joe Galloway (Tommy Lee Jones), pursued the truth about the U.S. administration’s motivations for invading Iraq and the legitimacy of reports of weapons of mass destruction.
Following the screening, Reiner and Galloway were joined on-stage by Landay, Strobel and Walcott, who have since reunited on the Reuters international affairs team, in a discussion with Reuters Money Editor Lauren Young about their experiences reporting the story and creating the film.
Among the highlights:
—On what drew him to the story of Landay, Strobel, Walcott and Galloway, Reiner said that he wanted to tell the story of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, and was looking for the right story to do it. He wasn’t familiar with the Knight Ridder team’s reporting at the time, but after a few failed attempts at other stories about the invasion, he saw a Bill Moyer’s documentary about their work and knew that was the way into it.
—Asked if they felt the film was an accurate representation of events, Walcott said he believed it to be practically word-for-word.
—The team noted one pivotal point in the film where Walcott gives an inspiring address to the newsroom. Strobel noted that the moment wasn’t in the original script, but on the day of shooting, he told Reiner he should say what Walcott had said – that it was a good speech. Reiner had Walcott write down exactly what he’d actually said years ago, and Reiner filmed the scene the same day. It turned out to be a central scene in the movie.
You can find out more about “Shock and Awe” here. It will be available on DIRECTV on June 14th and in theaters July 13th.
[Reuters Press Blog]
Heather.Carpenter at thomsonreuters.com