"So, You Ever Kill Anybody?"

On an epic research trip, filmmaker Stephen Gaghan asked an ex--CIA officer, gunrunners and Saudi sheiks all sorts of questions. He turned their answers into his thriller Syriana

Very few screenwriters get kidnapped. In Hollywood, where most of them live and work, they're considered low-value targets. But moments after arriving in Beirut in 2002, Stephen Gaghan, the Oscar-winning writer of Traffic, found himself in what seemed to be a hostage situation. His cell phone rang, and the voice on the other end said, "I've got something really special you can do, but you have to do it right now and I can't tell you what it is." Gaghan walked out of the airport and got into a car with a stranger. As they drove, he was stripped of his...

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