It seems that after finding such success making films about real-world situations in The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal wanted to keep going in that direction with their next project. They learned about the riots in Detroit in 1967 and, after doing many interviews, settled on a particular incident that took place at the Algiers Hotel. This ended up becoming the film Detroit, which was released almost to the day of the 50th anniversary of the incident.

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Kathryn Bigelow already showed everyone that she could handle action in her films with projects like Near Dark and Blue Steel when she and her husband-at-the-time James Cameron took on the task of doing rewrites to her new project Johnny Utah. With Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves coming on board to play the two leads, she was ready to prove herself yet again. And while she didn’t walk away with a film as successful as Cameron’s T2, she did end up with one of her highest grossing films and a cult classic that defined action films and surfing for years to come.

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When trying to figure out a way to stand out for her first solo directorial project, Kathryn Bigelow and her co-writer Eric Red decided to add elements of the vampire genre to the western they were developing. And thus, Near Dark was born. Unfortunately, her film came out a few months after the big vampire film of the year, The Lost Boys, and hers was lost in the shuffle. Despite that, her film still left enough of a mark that enabled her to get her career off the ground. Join us as we kick off the second part of our Kathryn Bigelow series with her 1987 film Near Dark

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Divisive before it even opened, Kathryn Bigelow’s film Zero Dark Thirty depicts, in a very procedural way, the steps it took to find Bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks.

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Kathryn Bigelow made a big change in her career direction as a film director when she made 2009’s “The Hurt Locker.” While it still had the adrenaline action sensibilities she displayed in her prior films, this film was less of a Hollywood action movie and more of an honest portrayal of soldiers in a war. This week on The Next Reel, join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we delve into Bigelow’s independent war film that made her the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar.

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Based on a dream James Cameron had in 1985, Strange Days came out in 1995 and strangely took place only 4 years in the future — during the 48 hours leading up to the year 2000. Cameron’s ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow, helmed the film, bringing her skills at directing action to the forefront to create what at the time was a wild, mind-bending, noirish tale that looked at people in LA dealing with the latest “drug” craze — living other people’s experiences through futuristic recording devices.

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