Nov 5, 2014

Tradecraft: Two Iran-Contra Scandal Movies in the Works

American Hustle chronicled the AbScam scandal of the early Eighties and ended up with an impressive box office and a slew of Academy Award nominations, so perhaps it was inevitable that the biggest scandal of that decade come next. Now there are at least two Iran-Contra Affair movie in the works just in time for the scandal's 30th anniversary. Deadline reports that Homeland director Michael Cuesta, who just helmed the Jeremy Renner journalistic thriller Kill the Messenger (which itself touches upon the fallout of one specific aspect of that scandal) will direct Code Name Veil for Black Label Media from a  Black List script by Matt Billingsly. The film deals with one of the most famous casualties in the history of the CIA, Beirut station chief William F. Buckley (no relation to the spy author of the same name). According to the trade, Code Name Veil follows a rookie CIA agent investigating the terrorist bombings of the American Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. "When his station chief and mentor is taken hostage, he must resort to desperate measures, unwittingly becoming part of the scandal that would become known as Iran-Contra." This story should make for a fascinating film, and based on his work on Homeland and Kill the Messenger, I'd say Cuesta is the perfect man to tell it.

Meanwhile, another prolific TV director, Mikael Salomon (whose spy credits include helming both The Company and The Agency, which is a kind of neat feat), will tackle the spy scandal from a different perspective in Angel's Paradise. In a separate story, Deadline reports that "the 1980s-set pic tracks the mysterious torture and murder of a wire service reporter during the Salvadoran civil war whose death leads to the uncovering of the Iran-Contra affair." This one is scripted by award-winning journalist and documentarian Paul VanDevelder. Between these two movies, it sounds like audiences should have a pretty good understanding of the events behind the Iran-Contra Affair in a few years.

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