Hurt Locker – Based On Playboy Article
Mark Boal, HURT LOCKER, ZERO DARK THIRTY, found his journalism instincts on-point while following a story in Iraq. He went on to write an article about bomb expert, Sergeant Jeffrey S. Sarver, “The Man in the Bomb Suit”.
From there, Boal wrote the original screenplay, The Hurt Locker — using a fictional set of characters and events based on his interviews and observations in Iraq.
He won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture for The Hurt Locker.
But that wasn’t his first ‘based on’ story. Paul Haggis snagged an article Boal wrote and used it as the foundation for his fictionalized film, In The Valley of Elah.
This is a great example of how real life becomes fictionalized, and then goes on to win awards. Both of the articles referred to here were rife with conflict, character and substance. The big issues with these stories comes down to ‘life rights’, particularly for The Hurt Locker. Clearly, Boal chose to create ‘fictionalized’ characters for his film, whether to avoid having to pay for life rights, or having to deal with real people (there can be plenty of issues either way), we’ll never know, but following the success of The Hurt Locker Sgt. Sarver filed suit against the producers. The case was ultimately thrown out.