STX Films has released the first trailer for their upcoming court drama, The Mauritanian. The story is based on Mohamedou Ould Slahi's diaries from when he was kept in prison for years. Kevin Macdonald directed the movie from a script written by M.B. Traven and Rory Haines & Sohrab Noshirvani, which is based on Slahi's book, Guantanamo Diary. The movie will be released on February 21st, 2021.
Captured by the U.S. Government, Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Tahar Rahim) languishes in prison for years without charge or trial. Losing all hope, Slahi finds allies in defense attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley). Together they face countless obstacles in a desperate pursuit for justice. Their controversial advocacy, along with evidence uncovered by formidable military prosecutor, Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch), eventually reveals a shocking and far reaching conspiracy. Based on the New York Times best-selling memoir, this is the explosive true story of a fight for survival against all odds.
The Mauritanian stars Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Zachary Levi, Saamer Usmani, Shailene Woodley, and Benedict Cumberbatch, who is providing a southern accent in the first trailer for the highly anticipated movie. Kevin Macdonald recently spoke about wanting to direct the movie. "The motivator for myself and I think for all the actors was Mohamedou himself, and what an extraordinary person he is," Macdonald said. "A wonderful, warm, humorous individual."
Going further, Kevin Macdonald spoke about wanting to get Mohamedou Ould Slahi's story right for the screen. "I see it as a film about him, as a very personal film, rather than as a political film," Macdonald notes. "I think people are expecting a film about how terrible Guantánamo is, but we already know that." The director also notes that the job was pretty difficult for the cast to pull off. He specifically mentions Benedict Cumberbatch, who is playing Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch. "He was very nervous," Macdonald recalled when talking about Cumberbatch having to meet Couch, who has far different politics than the actor. "I think that was so important to the whole process of the film," he said. "This is a film that is not about partisanship."
The work wasn't just hard on the actors while making The Mauritanian. Kevin Macdonald also struggled at times, though he was able to get some help from his talented cast. "Jodie [Foster] kept assuring me, 'You don't need to know anything because I'm going to bring it with me,'" he recalled. "It's all there in Jodie's face and in the nuance of her performance. That's the sign of a great actor." The movie is produced by Adam Ackland, Leah Clarke, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lloyd Levin, Beatriz Levin, Mark Holder, Christine Holder, Branwen Prestwood Smith, and Michael Bronner. You can check out the first trailer for The Mauritanian above, thanks to the STX Films YouTube channel.