At 'War Machine' premiere, based on Michael Hastings' 'The Operators'
I was thrilled to see an advance screening of War Machine yesterday, and attend the really cool Q&A with Brad Pitt, the director, producer and my friend Elise Jordan, who helped Michael Hastings research and refine the book.
It's based on Michael's bombshell book The Operators, itself based on his Rolling Stone story The Runaway General. (Which caused President Obama to summon Gen. Stanley McChrystal to the White House to fire him. They changed all the names for legal reasons.)
It's quite a book, and the film was really powerful. And Brad Pitt's performance is unreal. It could easily be his first Best Actor Oscar nomination. Easily the best of his career. (I can't say more for about a week, right before release on May 25, on Netflix.)
(BTW, look how intently everyone is watching Elise. She's now an NBC/MSNBC political consultant, one of the best they've got. She was married to Michael, and one of the best things that ever happened to him. And for regulars at my site, they were/are Bobby Sneakers mom and dad.)
It was really interesting to hear director David Michôd describe what attracted him to Mike's book, and his take on adapting it. (And he gets very expressive when he speaks.)
The film is incredibly timely for several reasons. President Trump is set to announce yet another mini-surge there a day before or after the film opens. And one of the main characters in the film is based on Gen. Mike Flynn, who Trump was forced to fire after 24 days as National Security Adviser.
Michael was amazing. He was one of just two geniuses I've been lucky enough to be friends with in my life so far.* He was really something, and if you've never read The Operators, grab a copy of that, too. His writing is spellbinding.
(And Mike spent much of his career writing about soldiers. And he was such a champion of my book Columbine.)
Man, do I miss him. (He died suddenly in a car wreck 3+ years ago.) I wrote this lament about him on my old blog the day he died.
I will have more to say about the film once the embargo is lifted.
And there's a pretty fun trailer for War Machine here:
* The other genius in my life was Lucia Berlin, labelled a genius by the New York Times 11 years after her death as an unknown. I'm pretty lucky to have known two.