Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower – a Hulu original series – traces the threat of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in the late 1990s and how the rivalry between the FBI and CIA during that time may have inadvertently set the path for the tragedy of 9/11. The Washington Post, in partnership with Hulu, held the premiere at their downtown offices.
“I spent five years working on the book and when it came out in 2006 many people approached me about doing a television show or a movie and, honestly, I wasn’t ready and I wasn’t sure the country was ready,” said Wright before the screening. “9/11 is still an open wound and unresolved in American consciousness. I hope that my book made some contribution to understanding. In the interim, things have changed. The things that really have motivated me to decide to express this book in another form, are two things: One, television changed. Television is not the same as it is now. We have 10 episodes with a tremendous budget and great actors and great directors telling a story that sprawls and we filmed in three different countries. That wasn’t the television of old, and so it’s a new medium that I thought would be a useful and expressive new medium for a new audience. And the second thing I wanted to say was that [with] that new audience, it began to dawn on me there was so many young people for whom 9/11 was, to them, what World War Two was to me. It was something that happened in their parents’ generation, and they don’t know why they live in the country they live in now. They don’t know what happened, they don’t have a narrative for it, they don’t know why we didn’t present it, and so what we hope to do here is to provide that narrative especially for a new generation in a form, a new form, the serial TV form that I think can be so expressive and carry so much more meaning than we were able to do in the past. I hope that we’ve come close to achieving those goals.”