Charlie Wilson’s War – The Roots of Where We Are Today

Charlie Wilson’s War has been airing on the HBO channels and it occurred to me as I was watching it, that this would have been a perfect story for a 6 – 8 hour limited HBO original series. There are so many interesting characters that would have been delightful to explore.

Charlie Wilson’s War

Review and recap Charlie Wilson’s War

With an A-list cast, Charlie Wilson’s War is an abridged version of the 2003 best selling book by CBS 60 Minutes producer, the late George Crile. Crile’s nonfiction book reads better and is more entertaining than most politics thriller fiction. The fact that the book is currently in its 10th edition is a testament to its popularity and readability.

In the days before members of Congress became rich through their office, U.S. Naval Academy graduate and Navy veteran, Charlie Wilson, was a 12-term Representative for the Texas 2nd congressional district. Wilson enjoyed women, drinking, cocaine, hot tubs and carousing.

Charlie Wilson’s War

The Mike Nichols directed film picks up the story 1980, Wilson (Tom Hanks) is in a hot tub with stripper and catches a televised report by Dan Rather of the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

Later, Wilson will be influenced by former Miss Cotton Bowl and, as Wilson describes her the 6th wealthiest woman in Texas, Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts) to increase aid to help the Afghan people.

At the time Wilson became interested in Afghanistan, the Afghans were receiving a mere $5 million in aid, by the time the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan Wilson had managed to grow that budget to $30 million in 1980 and continue to grow it to $630 million per year in 1987.

Charlie Wilson’s War

In order to keep the operation secret, American weapons could not be supplied to the Afghans, lest the U.S. – Soviet Cold War escalate in a full-scale war. That’s where CIA officer Gust Avrakotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman) comes into the picture – working to collect weapons from various pockets of the world munitions after markets and sending them (via mule) into Afghanistan.

Charlie Wilson’s War is a smart, funny, perfectly acted film, that will entertain and also provide a recent history lesson for a world hot spot that continues to smolder today.

Characters and cast of Charlie Wilson’s War include:

Charlie Wilson – Tom Hanks (The Da Vince Code, Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump, Bridge of Spies, Saving Mr. Banks, Captain Phillips, Philadelphia, The Burbs)

Bonnie Bach – Amy Adams (Enchanted, Man of Steel, American Hustle, Trouble with the Curve, The Master, The Fighter, Doubt, Sunshine Cleaning)

Joanne Herring – Julia Roberts (Notting Hill, Mother’s Day, August: Osage County, Eat Pray Love, The Mexican, The Pelican Brief, Steel Magnolias)

Gust Avrakotos – Philip Seymour Hoffman (A Most Wanted Man, God’s Pocket, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, A Late Quartet, The Master, Moneyball, The Ides of March, Doubt, The Savages, Capote, Cold Mountain, 25th Hour, The Talented Mr. Ripley)

Jane Liddle – Emily Blunt (Sicario, Edge of Tomorrow, Looper, The Devil Wears Prada, The Girl on the Train, Into the Woods, The Adjustment Bureau)

Larry Liddle – Peter Gerety (Inside Man, Changeling, Mercy Street, The Good Wife, Flight, Rubicon, Public Enemies, Brotherhood, The Wire, Syriana)

Craverly – John Slatterly (Mad Men, Spotlight, Iron Man 2, Veep, Captain America: Civil War)

President Zia – Om Puri (The Hundred-Foot Journey, East Is East, Gandhi)

Harold Holt – Denis O’Hare (Dallas Buyer’s Club, The Proposal, American Horror Story, The Good Wife, Milk)

Mike Vickers – Christopher Denham (Shutter Island, Argo, Sound of My Voice, The Bay, Manhattan)

Zvi – Ken Stott (Shallow Grave, Cafe Society, The Missing, Rebus, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)

Doc Long – Ned Beatty (Superman, Shooter, Homicide: Life on the Street, Deliverance, Nashville)