Posted on Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 by Russ Fischer
Barry Levinson has worked steadily for the last few years on films that weren’t exactly high-profile smashes (Man of the Year, What Just Happened) but scored big with the Jack Kevorkian film You Don’t Know Jack for HBO. He is finishing up the enviro-horror film The Bay right now.
And the director now has a follow-up film set. He will direct O.K.C., an indie about the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing perpetrated by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, which was the largest terrorist attack on US soil prior to 9/11.
Deadline says the film is written by Clay Wold, whose brother was on the McVeigh defense team, and that “he clerk’s determination to expose the truth led to a bigger conspiracy and nearly destroyed the young man.”
I’m going to say one thing: if this movie has any intent to clear the name of Timothy McVeigh or otherwise shift blame from him to someone else, it will be infuriating beyond belief. But that probably (hopefully) isn’t the intent.
McVeigh was a pure sociopath — basically Full Metal Jacket‘s Private Gomer Pyle if he hadn’t jammed a rifle in his own mouth. His fascination with guns led to a somewhat distinguished military career, but he was rejected from special forces and quit the Army. The FBI siege on Waco fully turned him against the US government (the government that had paid for and provided his training, of course) and he started on a path that ended with a rented truck packed with homemade explosive and the deaths of 168 people who were killed for absolutely no good reason at all. (The reason for the bombing in McVeigh and Nichols’ minds was retaliation for Waco.)
Deadline’s article mentions the goal of the film involving “the real circumstances” behind the bombing, and given that the screenwriter’s brother was on the McVeigh defense team I suspect that the ‘real circumstances’ involve one of two oft-cited theories about the bombing: that McVeigh was involved with a far-right white supremacist group, or that there were Middle Eastern ties to the bombing. Both theories are tied to circumstantial evidence and lines of official inquiry that were begun then closed down during the investigation into the bombing.
On a different note, this could be an interesting film to follow as it goes out into the wild. We don’t talk much about domestic terrorists any longer — or we don’t talk about white, terrorists with Christian backgrounds. (I’d originally said “white, Christian terrorists” there, which some took to mean that his actions were motivated by faith which is not true as mentioned above.)
Timothy McVeigh is exactly the sort of guy a lot of people would like to forget. A white, small-town, military kid who believed in small government, he could have been a Tea Partier right up until that point where he massacred his fellow citizens. But if he can be tied to a Middle Eastern group it would all be OK, because ultimately it would all be the fault of ‘regular’ terrorists, right? (Shudder.) Needless to say, we’ll be following this one. I’m very curious to see how it turns out.