by writer/director Larysa Kondracki
About ten years ago, I was living in New York and doing research on what would soon be my feature film debut. Early on in the process, I came across the story of Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop who exposed one of the most egregious cover-ups in the history of the United Nations.
The following year my writing partner, Ellis Kirwan and I reached out to Bolkovac who was now living in the Netherlands. We were impressed by the fact that Kathy was an ordinary woman who saw something terrible was happening and she set out to stop it. She could have been my Mom, or me, or anyone I know. And that made it such an interesting story.
More importantly, we felt we had found someone whose experiences sounded like a Robert Ludlum thriller. What Kathy went through encompassed every aspect of it—the anti-trafficking industry, the UN, the girls’ stories and then Kathy’s personal story. Once the initial script was completed, it created some great buzz in the industry, first being set up at Focus Features and then at HBO Films. It was when we decided to forgo the system and approach the project from an independent perspective, the pieces quickly fell into place. The most important component was who was going to play the multi-faceted Kathy, a lead that could tackle the hard-charging public persona but balance it with the tender mother on the private side.
Enter Academy Award-winner Rachel Weisz. Rachel had read the script several years prior while she was pregnant with her first child and felt she was not in the right headspace to tackle such an emotionally resonant film. However, the script stayed with her and a short while later she reached out to the filmmakers and very quickly was back right in the thick of things. And once Rachel committed to the project, our brilliant cast members—Vanessa Redgrave, David Strathairn and Monica Bellucci—came on board.
I hope we have created a powerful, edge-of-your-seat thriller that engages you and sparks a huge debate.