News Nuggets: Did Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ get unprecedented government access?

Did director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal get unprecedented government access for “Zero Dark Thirty“? “According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch, the White House, Defense Department and CIA all offered rare, if not unprecedented, access to Boal and Bigelow. The access included a guided tour of a secret CIA planning facility called The Vault and linking Boal up with what a Defense Department official described as ‘a planner, SEAL Team 6 operator and commander.’ The only restriction was that Boal not disclose the SEAL’s name. Defense Department Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Douglas Wilson stressed that Bigelow’s and Boal’s access would be unique. ‘We need to be careful here so we don’t open the media floodgates on this,’ Wilson wrote in an e-mail obtained by Judicial Watch.” WIRED

Beasts of the Southern Wild” was among critics’ picks at Cannes: “FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics, has given its top Cannes prizes to Sergei Loznitsa‘s ‘In the Fog,’ Benh Zeitlin‘s ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ and Rachid Djaidani‘s ‘Rengaine’ (‘Hold Back’). The organization selects winners from two of the main sections at Cannes, and a third winner from two independent sections … ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild,’ which won the top dramatic award at Sundance in January and will be released this summer by Fox Searchlight, was chosen from the 20 films in the Un Certain Regard section.” THE WRAP

Ubiquitous Nicole Kidman has a busy year at Cannes: “With two movies premiering in the Official Selection on successive nights and big worldwide market pre-sales announced for an upcoming film in which she plays Grace Kelly, Nicole Kidman ruled the Croisette in the second half of the Cannes Film Festival this week, and though she looked every inch the glamorous movie star on those back-to-back jaunts up the steps of the Grand Theatre Lumiere, it’s hard work invading the world’s most famous film festival. Perhaps that is why when she arrived Friday morning for Deadline’s interview and entered the Majestic Hotel’s 6th floor suite with its sweeping views of the Cote d’Azur all she wanted to do was take off her shoes and relax for a few minutes.” DEADLINE

Homeland” star Damian Lewis talks about his treacherous role: “I don’t mind playing unlikeable roles; I’ve done it before. One of the things you should seek to achieve as an actor is that your character is understood somehow. I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘You’re a guy who is going to blow up the vice president, you’re lying to your wife and you just generally scare the hell out of us, because you are unpredictable and unknown — and yet we oddly kind of liked you.’ If people like what they find, that’s their choice. Some people will still choose to not like you, and that’s fine. But I had one contention: Is there a way of finding in Islam a force for good, a nurturing thing in his life? Plenty of people think that if you’re a Muslim you want to blow people up, which is nonsense, and to pander to that would be irresponsible.” TV LINE

Moonrise Kingdom” breaks an indie film box office record: “The specialty box office is heated this Memorial Day weekend, with Wes Anderson‘s ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ breaking the record for the best limited indie debut of all time. Focus Features-released ‘Kingdom’ grossed a stunning $508,870 from just 4 theaters over the three-day frame, averaging $127,218. That allowed the film to top the $109,485 ‘Brokeback Mountain’ averaged back in 2005, giving it the best per-theater-average of any independent film or any live-action film (a number of animated Disney films had higher averages). That gives ‘Kingdom’ a slight head start over last summer’s biggest hit ‘Midnight in Paris‘ (which, like ‘Kingdom,’ opened the Cannes Film Festival a week prior). That film averaged a whopping $99,834 from 6 screens in its first frame, heading toward a massive $56.8 million final gross.” INDIEWIRE

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