Mohamedou Ould Salahi’s best-selling Guantánamo Diary is a shocking memoir detailing his time detained at Guantanamo Bay, where he was held for 14 years without charge under suspected ties to the September 11th terrorist attacks. It’s a harrowing account of unlawful imprisonment, and one that, when published in 2015, became a hot commodity in Hollywood with producers looking to adapt Salahi’s story to film. This year, that story comes in the form of Kevin Macdonald’s The Mauritanian—just in time for awards season. French actor Tahar Rahim (A Prophet) earned his first Golden Globe nomination (while Jodie Foster nabbed her 11th) for his portrayal of Mohamedou Ould Salahi, depicting his sense of levity—and love of pop culture—in even the darkest of situations. The A.V. Club recently spoke to Rahim about literally running into Salahi in preparation from the film, what the author thought of seeing himself portrayed on the big screen.
Below, you can also watch The A.V. Club’s conversation with director Kevin Macdonald, who shared what he hopes sets his film apart from other legal dramas. Macdonald opened up about his approach to The Mauritanian and explained how it does—and doesn’t—connect to his previous film Whitney, the Whitney Houston documentary.
The Mauritanian is now playing in select theaters and will be available on VOD platforms in March.