The director of ‘The Mauritanian’ Kevin Macdonald on the importance of telling the story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi

Also, why would he be willing to release a longer version of the film.

With The Mauritanian now playing select theaters, recently was able to speak with the director Kevin Macdonald’s on the making of his powerful new movie. Written by MB Traven, Rory hainesY Sohrab Noshirvani and based on the NY Times best-selling memoir “Guantanamo Diary” by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, the film tells the inspiring true story of Slahi’s fight for freedom after being detained and imprisoned without charge by the United States government for years. Led by incredible leading performance by Tahar rahim (who was recently nominated for a Golden Globe), the film also stars Jodie foster as Slahi’s defense attorney, Benedict Cumberbatch like the military prosecutor trying to convict Slahi, Shailene Woodley as associate attorney for Foster, and Zachary levi as a CIA agent. To learn more about the movie, watch the trailer or read Matt Goldberg’s review.


During the interview, Macdonald talks about how he got Jodie Foster for the movie, as she is very selective about her acting roles, the way they collaborated on the script, what it was like working with Rahim and putting together his prison scenes, his longer version of the movie and why you’d be willing to release it, the challenges of editing, and much more.

Look what he had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the official synopsis. If you missed my interviews with Jodie Foster and Tahar Rahim, click on the links.


Image via STXfilms

Kevin Macdonald:

  • What television series would you like to direct as a guest?

  • How you first saw Tahar Rahim’s work.

  • Was it a struggle to get funding?

  • What it was like to meet Mohamedou Ould Slahi and why he has tried to forgive the people involved.

  • How did you get Jodie Foster for the movie because she’s so picky about acting jobs?

  • Why Foster worked with Macdonald on the script and what he wanted to change.

  • What was it like working with an actor who is also a talented director?

  • What was it like working with Rahim on set and creating the prison scenes?

  • What was it like in the editing room and did it have a longer cut?

  • Is your cut longer done?

Here is the official synopsis of The Mauritanian:

Two-time Oscar winner Jodie Foster plays Nancy Hollander, a defense attorney taking on the case of Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Tahar Rahim), a Mauritanian accused of recruiting the terrorists who blew up a plane at the World Trade Center on the 9th. / 11. Captured by the US government, Mohamedou languishes in prison for years without charge or trial, almost losing all hope until he finds allies in Nancy and her partner Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley). Together they face countless obstacles in a desperate search for justice. His controversial defense, along with the evidence uncovered by the formidable military prosecutor, Lt. Col. Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch), finally reveals a shocking and far-reaching conspiracy.


Image via STXfilms

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