(CNN) — The loss of an eye while covering the war in Sri Lanka made Marie Colvin an instantly recognizable figure with an eyepatch which she joked made her resemble a pirate. Equally distinctive was her fearless journalism, risking her life to expose the suffering of civilians during some of the world’s most devastating conflicts.
the compulsion to tell Colvin’s story drove actor Rosamund Pike to fight for the role in Matthew Heineman’s film “A Private War.”
Rosamund Pike: “I just felt, I will dive into this with you. I will go wherever you want me to go. And I’ll be, you know, as fearless and committed and as un-vain as I can be. And I believe in her, I want to know more. I want to tell her story…maybe, in a very similar way to the way she approached her journalism…I just felt there is a compulsion in me to, to, to do, to do this for, I don’t know, for the story, I suppose, for her memory.”
CNN: “Can you divest yourself of a character, or does “Marie” inhabit you?”
Rosamund Pike: “It’s an interesting question. I think, I think, you know, to a degree I can, and then somebody, you know, you come in and you say something quite penetrating and I, and I feel it in my body. You know, I feel, I feel a memory, I feel a connection that is not easy to shake. No.”
Colvin’s long-time photographer, Paul Conroy was at her side in homs and was badly injured in the blast which claimed her life. he worked closely with actor Jamie Dornan to portray their symbiotic working relationship.
Jamie Dornan: “I think what Paul and Marie had was very unique. It’s a relationship that she hadn’t had with any other photographer, with many other men, to be honest. And Marie said that you were the only man she ever trusted, you know, that’s a massive thing.”
CNN: “When, where and how do you miss her? What are the moments?”
Paul Conroy, Marie Colvin’s photographer: “It’s like a huge hole in my life, you know. I mean, I’ve been back in England for kind of six years now, and normally the phone would be going ‘Paul, we got this,’ you know, and I think I said in some interview a while back, about the book, I said, you know, when something happened and, I said, in reality now, I’d be waiting for the phone to ring, saying ‘Get your stuff, we’re going,’ and the phone doesn’t ring, and we don’t get to do what we did so well, and you know, it’s just a huge hole, a huge gap.”
Rosamund Pike: “There are scenes where the people I talk to…those are their stories… And we recreated the famous CNN footage that Marie, uh, gave to Anderson Cooper, um, with our own bereft father and a small child, um, dying, which, you know, CNN fearlessly showed to show what was going on, and many other networks might not have wanted to broadcast it. And, uh, and when we shot that scene, we had our child and the man who came in to be the father, was someone who had a child shot off his shoulders in Homs. And when he saw this little baby on the bed, this, this, uh, grief welled out of him, which was, which was so painful.”
Another key scene, Marie’s fateful decision to return to Homs proved painful for both actors and particularly her photographer.
Paul Conroy: “And Marie just kind of chuckled and laughed and went ‘Well, I’m the journalist and you’re the photographer. You can go home if you want.’ And I was like ‘Uh, okay.’ And it was done, you know. It didn’t go any further than that. And, you know, I’d never talk her out of that, not in a million years.”
a short time later, Colvin spoke to CNN’s Anderson Cooper from a building which had been used as a makeshift media center.
Just a few hours later, Colvin was killed alongside French photographer Remi Ochlik in a rocket strike. her family believe she was deliberately targeted by the Syrian regime.
CNN: “What do you think she would have thought of the era of ‘fake news’?”
Matthew Heineman, Director: “I think she’d be appalled at the state of journalism. I think she would be appalled at the way journalists are being described, especially in the country that she’s from, my country. I think she, uh, the fact that, you know, journalists are, you know, “enemies of the state” or, um, is a, is a tragedy. Uh, you know, um, journalism is the bedrock of a free and democratic society.”
CNN: “Would you like President Trump and other world leaders to see this film and is there a message for them?”
Matthew Heineman: “Yeah, do you know how to get it to him? I hope people from all different walks of life, all different political affiliations see this film, talk about this film, and that it sticks with them.”