- Category: Interviews
- Created: Thursday, 03 March 2016 08:35
- Published: Thursday, 03 March 2016 13:51
- Written by Lupe R Haas
It isn’t often that a comedy tackles life in a war zone but WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT is a welcomed exception.
Tina Fey stars as real life war correspondent Kim Baker, a copy editor who finds herself working in Afghanistan. Struggling to adjust to dangerous surroundings, she finds comfort in those around her - including a fellow journalist (Margot Robbie) and a photographer (Martin Freeman).
Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, the film is witty, touching and thought-provoking.
Here are ten fun facts about WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT based on a New York press conference that was held.
1. WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT is based on Kim Baker’s book The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days In Afghanistan And Pakistan. It’s an autobiographical account of Baker’s time as a war correspondent.
2. It was Fey’s love for the book that led her to pursue the development of a film adaptation. “You see things, events, moments, that to me were so fascinating and strange and funny, and cinematic, so I definitely thought it really should be a movie,” the Emmy-winner said.
3. Though the film is set in Kabul, Afghanistan - it was shot in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The book is set primarily in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan. The latter location is left out of the film.
4. For Fey the biggest challenge was imagining being in a war zone. “The most challenging thing, personally, was trying to pretend we were there [in Afghanistan],” Fey said. “To really try to imagine the feeling of danger. Because we were in New Mexico, we are in the United States.”
5. For Margot Robbie, the two main reasons she wanted to be a part of the film had to do with the directing team and the prospect of working opposite Fey. “I was halfway through shooting Focus with John and Glenn when I told them, whatever project you ever do again I want to be a part of it,” the Aussie star said. “And they said, well, funny you mention that, because you should have a read of this script. And then I heard that Tina was going to be playing the lead character and I thought, oh, what a brilliant learning experience that would be, just to be able to work with someone like that.”
6. When Fey dons a blue burka during one key scene in the film, that’s taken directly from Baker’s experiences. Baker has noted that becoming accustomed to how women dress in South Asia took adjusting to. “I had to bring brown contact lenses, you know, because I had blue eyes and it’s what makes me look like a Westerner, and I’m 5’10” and I had to blend in,” Baker said. “There’s no blending in for me, right? It would be like I would be sitting in a car and I could blend into a bed if I was wearing a full abaya and I was wearing the brown contact lenses, and then if I was sitting in a car and wearing a burka, I could blend in.”
7. Since coming back from war, Baker has written about the sexual harassment faced by women overseas. This is also touched on in the film. She notes that since her time overseas, there’s a lot more awareness regarding the issue. “There’s been a lot more attention about it, in large part because Lara Logan was so brave to talk about what happened to her, and I think, you know, Lynsey Addario has talked about it, even male journalists have talked about it,” Baker said. “And I think a lot more people are talking about it.”
8. Robbie did extensive research to prepare for her role as Tanya that largely included reading up on the film’s subject matter. “I did a lot of reading about things that we weren’t actually talking about in the script necessarily, but the things that would happen to reporters over there, just so that I could recognize the stakes that we would technically be in and try and bring that fear to a scene,” Robbie said.
9. This film is written by Robert Carlock, who previously wrote for "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock." He currently serves as showrunner of the Netflix series "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," which he co-created with Fey.
10. The film was originally titled "The Taliban Shuffle' and then "Fun House." WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT is meant to exemplify the abbreviation WTF.
WHISKY TANGO FOXTROT opens March 4 in movie theaters.