PREVIEW – Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’

Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’

Charlie Wilson’s War is a movie that comes packaged with Oscar pedigree. It stars Tom Hanks as the titular Texas Congressman who for the most part did not have much going for him in Washington except for an active social life revolving around booze and women. However, when he latches on to the mujahideen struggle in Afghanistan against the Russian invasion during the early 80s, Wilson becomes a man reborn with a mission to help the mujahideens by supplying them with arms.  

Together with a rogue CIA agent named Gus Avrakotos (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman), he begins to garner the support of Congress and enlists the help of a Texas socialite, Joanne Herring (played by Julia Roberts) and then Pakistani president, Zia-ul-Haq (Om Puri) to set his plan in motion. What transpires is the largest covert CIA operation in American history, one that quite possibly laid the groundwork for today’s network of world terrorism.

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The book on which it’s based, written by George Crile (who sadly passed away in 2006), is a massive tome of dense backstory and backroom politics. But it scores high marks for being heavily researched and thoroughly engrossing. Aaron Sorkin adapted the screenplay for Charlie Wilson’s War, quite possibly the best choice given his previous work from The West Wing and The American President. 

Mike Nichols directs Charlie Wilson’s War and with a smashing cast of three Oscar winners, the film is expected to headline the awards season by year’s end. During production, an effects crew person was listed in critical condition when a mortar exploded during shooting at Downey Studios in Los Angeles. The picture has finished production and is currently in editing. Charlie Wilson himself had a few words about the movie version of his life and some of his favorite shows.

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