In December, three members of the Senate Intelligence committee – Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) — asked the CIA to provide information about the details it gave Boal and “Zero Dark Thirty” director Kathryn Bigelow about the effort to find and later kill Osama bin Laden. The trio also sent a letter to Sony Pictures Entertainment – the studio that released the film – claiming that “Zero Dark Thirty” was “grossly inaccurate” in suggesting torture played a role in extracting information that would eventually lead to bin Laden.

On the criticism aimed at the film’s accuracy, Boal pushed back to a degree.

“These topics are controversial. I think the controversy in a lot of ways predates the film. And I believe that we capture the essence of what happened and so do many other people who have lived through it,” Boal said. “I approached the research the way I would’ve approached the research of any article or if I was writing a book. But then there’s a second stage, which is you take that research and you compile it and transform it into a screenplay. It’s dramatized.”