Robert Pattinson received high praise today from former U.S Army interrogation specialist Eric Maddox.
In an interview on WRKO Pundit Review radio, Maddox revealed that he personally endorsed Robert Pattinson to play him in the big screen adaption of his book Mission: Black List #1: The Inside Story of the Search for Saddam Hussein.
Co-authored by Maddox and Davin Seay, the book is based on Maddox and (Matthew Alexander’s) pivotal role gathering the vital intel that led to the capture of the now dead (and by then, deposed) Iraqi President and others on the military’s Black List – including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Maddox, it should be noted, is a vocal advocate for the use of “psychological” methods in interrogations as opposed to physical force, in the past working with David Danzig of the New York–based advocacy group Human Rights First.
Recently returned from his third tour in Afghanistan, Maddox told the show’s host, Kevin Whelan, that he was given the “final decision” about Pattinson as the lead for the film. According to Maddox though, giving Pattinson his stamp of approval was a “no-brainer”.
When told about the Brit actor’s possible involvement by the film’s producers – Ross M. Dinerstein, Erik Jendresen (also the screenplay writer) and Kevin Waller – Maddox said he told them, “whatever you have to do to get that guy to be a part of the movie, I think it’s wonderful and I fully support it.”
And thanks to some cogently posed questions from a caller into the show – Maryann – Maddox revealed even more behind-the-scenes details.
Asked about the likelihood of filming in Iraq and whether he had met Pattinson, Maddox said location scouting in Iraq was a strong possibility. The much decorated ex-Staff Sergeant also revealed he hooked up with Pattinson in a 14 hour meet after he returned from Afghanistan earlier this month.
And it was that meeting that convinced Maddox the dramatic events of December 13, 2003, would be authentically portrayed in the film. That authenticity, Maddox said, was his “one major request” and something the film’s director Jean-Stephane Sauvaire also insisted on.
Clearly impressed by what he called Pattinson’s “level of commitment”, Maddox said the actor was “dedicated to his work” and “willing to put in the hours in”. Even more revealingly, Maddox said during their meet Pattinson’s “entire focus was on the project,” and “wasn’t about him [Pattinson]'” or “his needs”.
Coming from a man whose ability to assess the nature of a person under extreme circumstances is pretty much a job requisite – that’s quite an endorsement.
Robert Pattinson will shortly be seen at the Cannes when Cosmopolis premieres in competition on May 25. Distribution rights for Mission:Blacklist are currently being shopped by Embankment Films at the festival’s Film Market, now entering its sixth day.
A clip of Eric Maddox speaking at a 2011 TEDx Talk (affiliated to TED).