2. Cinematic potential
Enter director Kathryn Bigelow, who saw definite potential in Boal's material. "I think the Iraq War was a very under-reported one, especially in US," she told Variety when asked why she chose to get the script written.
"I wanted the on-the-ground information and I thought his stories were incredible."
Boal and Bigelow first met when she optioned one of his earlier articles, a piece about a police officer going undercover at a high school that she helped turn into an unsuccessful TV pilot.
Working entirely on spec, the pair began work on getting the screenplay into shape. "It's the way one works if you want to do a real passion piece, uncompromised," says Bigelow.
The story would be focused on EOD - or Explosive Ordinance Disposal - squads, soldiers who literally push themselves into harm's way to dismantle and defeat bombs left by insurgents. "This is a war of bombs. What does that mean?" says Bigelow.
"Who fights that war? The EOD squads are the primary men on the ground that you need for this conflict."
And she got some advice from a big name former flame...
Next: A return to form