Tell us about your work for Mission: Blacklist and how you ended up being a part of this project?
“I became involved with Mission: Blacklist when head writer and Executive Producer Erik Jendresen contacted me about contributing to the project. At the time, he and his co-writer Trace Sheehan were deeply immersed in adapting Staff Sergeant Maddox’s book, Mission: Black List #1, and were looking for an additional voice to help flesh out the main character and structure his remarkable story as a movie. It was an honor to be asked to collaborate with two such accomplished and well-respected writers, on a story with such an incredible pedigree, and I accepted without a moment’s hesitation.”
Was it complicated for you to work on this book and, particularly, on this subject?
“The most challenging part about working on the project for me personally was absorbing the vast amount of research Erik and Trace had compiled before I came onboard. On top of the book itself, there were hundreds of pages of interviews they’d conducted with the Staff Sergeant, firsthand accounts of the Iraq War and of the American presence in Baghdad and Tikrit after Saddam’s fall — I had to get up to speed in a hurry. Once I’d gotten on top of the material, however, I was fortunately able to see a strong and clear contribution I could make towards rendering this soldier’s mind-bending ordeal into a piece of dramatic cinema. Incredible human beings don’t always make compelling onscreen protagonists, but between the work we’ve done as writers, Jean Stephane Sauvaire’s guiding hand as director, and Robert Pattinson’s committment to playing this inspiring figure with the fearless honesty for which he’s known, I don’t think that will be the case here.”
Did you work directly with Eric Maddox to sort out what to take or not take from the book?
“Both Erik Jendresen and Trace Sheehan worked more directly with Eric Maddox than I did, and Mr. Pattinson has spent an extended amount of time with him at this point. They will be able to speak to your question better than me.”
In the story, the blue shirt is very important and during a lecture in Oklahoma University, Eric Maddox said that Robert Pattinson will probably wear it, did you include it in your work?
“Eric Maddox wore the same blue oxford shirt throughout his intelligence effort to help locate Saddam Hussein, and we included that costume choice as part of Maddox’s character in the screenplay. Whether Robert will be wearing the actual shirt during the shoot is a question for the director, actor, and Staff Sergeant Maddox to answer.”
What do you think of Robert Pattinson’s choice as the lead man?
“Robert Pattinson is a phenomenal choice. We were all thrilled when he came onboard. More importantly, after spending lengthy one-on-one time with Staff Sergeant Maddox, and getting Maddox’s personal blessing to portray him in the movie … he is the only choice.”
What can you tell us (that nobody knows yet) about the movie or the project?
“All I can say is, you’ve never seen a story like this one, or experienced an intelligence, military or otherwise, like you will Staff Sergeant Maddox’s in this film. His is truly a remarkable mind; I remain as much in awe of it now as I was after I first read the book, and I remain very proud to have been a small part of the process of bringing the man and his story to the screen”