“Zero Dark Thirty”: Mystery woman behind bin Laden raid

By Eric Pfeiffer | Movie Talk

Jessica Chastain in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ (Photo: Columbia Pictures)

The new trailer for “Zero Dark Thirty,” which details the hunt for Osama bin Laden, hints that the real star of the film may not be U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six, but a “wicked smart” female CIA analyst who helped coordinate the mission that brought bin Laden down. The preview for director Kathryn Bigelow’s follow-up to “The Hurt Locker” puts the focus on Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain. She reportedly plays the unnamed CIA analyst who is central to a 10-year effort to track down the world’s most wanted terrorist. An exchange between two of the SEAL characters seems to be the biggest clue.

Watch the new ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ trailer:


Chris Pratt, who portrays one of the SEALs, turns to fellow soldier Joel Edgerton and asks, “You really believe this story? Osama bin Laden?”

“Yeah,” Edgerton’s character responds.

“What part convinced you?”

Edgerton then points his arms in Chastain’s direction and says, “Her confidence.”

[Related: Jessica Chastain Takes Another Risk in Her Meteoric Rise From Obscurity]

Chastain made reference to the role on her Facebook page on Thursday, but has remained coy about the exact details surrounding her character.

“Hey everyone. The newest trailer for my upcoming film, ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ was released today and I wanted to share it with you all,” Chastain wrote. “I’m still not allowed to talk about it, but any guesses as to who I play? The creative answer with the most ‘likes’ wins!!!”

The speculation surrounding her role lines up with a “60 Minutes” interview given by one of the SEALs involved in the bin Laden operation.

“One of the passengers on their plane was a CIA analyst who had spent five years on bin Laden’s trail,” host Scott Pelley said in the piece, which ran in September.

In the piece, ex-SEAL and “No Easy Day” author “Mark Owen” (a pseudonym) gives much of the credit to the unnamed female CIA analyst he refers to only as “Jen.” Owen says the analyst was more convinced than anyone, including President Obama and CIA head LeonPanetta, that bin Laden was hiding in the Abbottabad compound in Pakistan.

She reportedly traveled to Afghanistan to brief the SEALs before their mission, informing them of what they were likely to encounter during the raid.

“I can’t give her enough credit. In my opinion, she kind of teed up this whole thing and is just wicked smart, kind of feisty,” Owen told “60 Minutes.” “We’d always talk back and forth, you know, what do you think the odds of this are? What do you think? And she was always like, ‘100 percent, he’s there.'”

“SEAL Team Six just took care of the last 40 minutes,” Owen added.

“Zero Dark Thirty” opens December 19.