According to the New York Times, Steven Spielberg is wasting no time getting to work on another film. This as yet untitled film will look at “the tale of a secret Mossad hit squad ordered to assassinate Palestinian terrorists after the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.” Having already tackled such thought provoking material as the Holocaust in Schindler's List, and soldiers during World War II in Saving Private Ryan, this film about Israeli/Palestinian relations could be his most controversial movie yet.
The film will star Eric Bana as the lead Israeli assassin, with Daniel Craig, Geoffrey Rush and Mathieu Kassovitz already cast as well. Spielbeg has said that the attack in Munich - which was done by Black September, a faction of the P.L.O.'s Fatah organization - and Israel’s subsequent response
"a defining moment in the modern history of the Middle East.".By looking at such a controversial part of Israeli history - one that brought into the spotlight the tactic known as targeted killings - Spielberg runs the risk of hurting his “stature” with Jews in the United States as well as Israel.
Culled from many sources, the film has been scripted by playwright Tony Kushner (“Angels In America”), Charles Randolph (The Interpreter) and Eric Roth (Ali). What makes this project doubly controversial are reports that some of the information for the screenplay was taken from George Jonas’ book, “Vengeance”. This book is based on an account from a supposed member of Mossad’s assassination team, but later this team member’s legitimacy was questioned by many. Spielberg has reportedly been advised from everyone to his own rabbi, to former American diplomat Dennis Russ, to even former President Bill Clinton.
“Viewing Israel's response to Munich through the eyes of the men who were sent to avenge that tragedy adds a human dimension to a horrific episode that we usually think about only in political or military terms,"Spielberg said.
"By experiencing how the implacable resolve of these men to succeed in their mission slowly gave way to troubling doubts about what they were doing, I think we can learn something important about the tragic standoff we find ourselves in today."
Universal Pictures has already scheduled an Oscar season release for December 23rd, 2005.