Director Michael Mann on His Research Process for Films Like Blackhat and Insider

January 26, 2015 3:40 PM

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I don't look at other pictures about a subject. If I want to do a movie about a thief, I don't watch a film about a thief, I meet and hang out with thieves. The same goes for researching investigate journalists. When I was doing Insider, that methodology projected into the work I asked the actors to do. I took Al Pacino to the FBI in his role as an investigative journalist to conduct a difficult interview with the head of FBI Counter Terrorism, reluctant to tell him anything. That was a challenge the real Lowell Bergman faced everyday.

We were meeting Blackhat hackers from the start. Particularly Kevin Poulsen, who's an editor at Wired, now, and Chris McKinlay, who got his PhD in Math from UCLA and had hacked OKCupid to become the most desirable male in Los Angeles for a while, which is how he met his fiancé. Then we also met with...

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