EXCLUSIVE: In one of its first buys of the season, NBC has gone global with a geopolitical project set at the United Nations. Described as “West Wing in the United Nations,” the drama, which has received a script commitment, follows an interpreter at the international organization’s New York HQ working with ambassadors and politicians from various countries as they deal with political and military crisis around the world. Hell On Wheels’ scribe Tom Brady is writing, Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald and Parkes/MacDonald’s Ted Gold executive producing. The project stems from Parkes/MacDonald’s fist-look deal at NBCUniversal, which has yielded one series, the 10-episode Crossbones based on the book The Republic of Pirates. The U.N. has long been a dramatic backdrop for film and TV. Cary Grant was filmed approaching exterior of the actual building in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958’s North By Northwest, though all interior scenes were shot on a soundstage. The 2005 thriller The Interpreter, with Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman, was actually the first film to shot inside the U.N. itself. In 2008’s The Day The Earth Stood Still remake, the aliens communicate with world leaders gathered at the U.N. A great deal of the political drama in the 2009 satire In The Loop is supposed to take place in the halls and conference rooms of the U.N., though the film wasn’t shot there. The United Nations was the primary setting of the final season of 24, as Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer dealt with an attempt to stop leader of a fictional Middle Eastern county from signing a peace treaty with the U.S. President. Tom Brady is repped by Rothman Brecher Kim.
Samuel Goldwyn Films and director Larysa Kondracki have finally been given a date for a United Nations screening and panel discussion on The Whistleblower, the drama about sex trafficking in post-war Bosnia that occurred under the watch of UN peacekeepers. The screening will take place tomorrow at 3:30 PM. Kondracki will take part in the panel discussion along with Madeleine Rees, former UN rights lawyer and secretary of the Women’s International League For Peace And Freedom (played in the film by Vanessa Redgrave); Susana Malcorra, Under Secretary General, Department of Field Support; and Anne-Marie Orler, Police Adviser, Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The screening and discussion is being hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The screening will be attended by member states and UN staff.
After months of back and forth, the United Nations has told director Larysa Kondracki that her controversial film The Whistleblower will be given a special screening at UN headquarters on the week of Oct. 10. After the screening, a panel discussion will address the issue of sex trafficking in post-war Bosnia. It’s an embarrassing chapter for the UN, as the film depicts UN peacekeepers not only turning a blind eye to the trafficking of women forced into prostitution in post-war Bosnia, but actually assisting in the transport of sex slaves over the border and into unimaginable hellholes. This latest development comes as a surprise to Kondracki, who has lobbied for months to bring her cautionary tale to the UN. The film stars Rachel Weisz as Kathryn Bolkovac, an American police officer who takes a job as UN peacekeeper in Bosnia and not only was shocked to discover the sexual enslavement of young girls, but that UN peacekeepers and private contractors were major customers. Given diplomatic immunity by the State Department when they hired on, the men were never punished for their complicity in the criminal enterprise. Bolkovac, on the other hand, was excoriated and blackballed for exposing the scandal.
Samuel Goldwyn Films began slowly rolling out the film two weeks ago, and Kondracki initially got a frosty response from the UN. She figured out why when she was slipped an internal UN memo, which she shared with me and which indicated how conflicted senior advisers were over whether to embrace the film or run from it. “After the film premiered and there was quite a bit of press, that’s when I was given the memo by someone who works for the UN and we heard they were going the damage-control route,” Kondracki told me. “I wrote the Secretary General, sent him the DVD, and said they were making the wrong decision.”