3. A return to form
The Hurt Locker was planned as Kathryn Bigelow's return to cinema after 2002's K-19: The Widowmaker.
The sub-tragedy drama hadn't exactly floated at the box-office and Bigelow had spent the intervening years directing TV episodes and searching for her next big project.
In early 2007, she was debating exactly what that would be, erring between Mark Boal's Hurt Locker script and another potential movie.
One piece of advice came from a solid cinematic source: ex-husband James Cameron.
"I encouraged her to make Hurt Locker," Cameron told David Poland at Comic-Con. "Because I really enjoyed the script and a lot of the power of the performances originated in it."
But according to Cameron, that's not the sole reason The Hurt Locker succeeds. "Kathryn has a pitch-perfect ear for b******t. She knows when something is false.
"And that's why those people are so real - it makes the film such a white-knuckler and almost difficult to watch, but in a good way.
"I think this could be the Platoon for the Iraq War."
Strong words - but they seem to be coming true.
Now what she needed was a cast...
Next: Big names, big budget?