In 2007, two major Hollywood productions about Afghanistan will premiere in Hollywood. The sudden appearance of Afghanistan on screen makes one wonder- when was the last time Afghanistan was featured in a major motion picture?
Afghans would say Rambo III, filmed in 1988 was the last great film set in Afghanistan. The film adaptation of MM Kaye’s book The Far Pavilions features a few key scenes of the Afghan Wars.The Horsemen with Omar Sharif in epic buzkashi scenes may be the only other serious contender; it premiered in 1971. Certainly there have been numerous independent films and documentaries about Afghanistan released over the last five years.Osama, Kandahar, Beneath the Veil, and Afghanistan’s Lost Gold come to mind.
Finally Afghanistan will be reappearing in Hollywood, first with The Kite Runner, the screen adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s bestselling novel. The Kite Runner is expected to be released in the US in November 2007. Marc Forster, of Monster’s Ball and Finding Neverland is directing The Kite Runner the movie.
Charlie Wilson’s War starring Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks, is set to be released on Christmas Day 2007. Based on the book Charlie’s War, by George Crile, it explores former Texan Congressman Charlie Wilson’s major covert CIA involvement with the mujahedin against the Soviet Union in the 1980’s. The playboy congressman pushed the CIA to fund mujahedin resistance in Afghanistan; material support that Osama bin Laden and the Taliban have been using recently. Mike Nichols, who was born Michael Igor Peschkowsky, a German-Russian Jew, is directing Charlie Wilson’s War.
Both screenplays were written by Aaron Sorkin and have been taken up by Dreamworks and Wonderland Films.