In the making of the new true-life drama American Made, director Doug Liman was equipped with a shockingly close relationship with the story that the film is based on. While most filmmakers simply read books, watch documentaries or do interviews about the subject matter of their work, Liman actually grew up the son of Arthur L. Liman -- who was the chief counsel for the Senate investigation of the Iran-Contra affair and looked closely into the involvement of one Barry Seal (played by Tom Cruise in the new movie). This close connection to history sparked an extra passion in the director adapting the story, and it actually resulted in a notable conflict between himself and screenwriter Gary Spinelli. Liman recently told me,
I spoke with Doug Liman over the phone earlier this month to talk about the creation of American Made, and learned about his father's very close involvement with the subject matter in the midst of our conversation. Impressed and curious how this ultimately had an influence on the way the story was told, I asked how this inside knowledge wound up changing and influencing the script. Liman told me about the specific incident above, and continued explaining how it led to a serious back and forth between himself and the screenwriter:
Of course, there are parts of American Made that don't fully sync up with reality -- but the truth of the matter is that the entire thing is pretty much a Stranger Than Fiction tale anyway. In the late 1970s, small time smuggler and TWA airline pilot Barry Seal was approached by a member of the CIA and recruited to help them take surveillance photos with a spy plane in Central America. A true opportunist, Seal wound up using this deal to manufacture a side gig with the notorious Medellin Cartel in Colombia to illegally transport literal tons of cocaine... but still found his role within CIA operations increase and his status protected. It comes together as one of Doug Liman's slickest movies, and certainly a crazy big screen adventure.
NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.
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