Craig Zisk Interview: ‘The Looming Tower’ director
“Throughout the whole series, we felt the pressure to honor the people who lost their lives and their family members,” reveals “The Looming Tower” director Craig Zisk. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning nonfiction book by Lawrence Wright, the limited series explores how internal conflicts between the FBI and CIA unwittingly set the stage for the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Now Zisk is an Emmy nominee for helming the harrowing finale, “9/11.” Watch our exclusive video interview with him above.
In revisiting the al-Qaeda attack on the World Trade Center, Zisk and the rest of the show’s creative team “wanted to make sure that, in each scene, we weren’t doing anything that could possibly offend” the victims and survivors, while still “trying to get at the truth.” That was an emotional task for all involved. “We shot in New York,” he explains, “so a lot of the crew members had gone through 9/11 and lost loved ones or friends. It brought us all closer together because we shared stories and really made sure we talked about it, and didn’t just let people be off on their own.”
Zisk has competed at the Emmys four previous times: once for Best Comedy Directing (“Weeds” in 2006) and three times for Best Comedy Series (“Brooklyn Bridge” in 1992, “The Larry Sanders Show” in 1998, and “Weeds” in 2009). He has also helmed episodes of a wide range of shows including “Veep,” “This Is Us,” “The Office,” “NYPD Blue,” “Parks and Recreation,” and “The Good Wife.”
In addition to Zisk’s nomination, “The Looming Tower” also earned acting bids for Jeff Daniels (Best Movie/Mini Actor) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor), as well as Best Movie/Mini Casting.