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Robert Kenner’s ‘Command and Control’ Is a Documentary Told as a “Techno-Thriller”

Robert Kenner’s new documentary Command and Control, created for PBS’s American Experience series, tells the unbelievable true story of a stateside nuclear explosion in 1980 that very nearly killed hundreds of millions of people. The film is based on Eric Schlosser’s book of the same name, and is the second collaboration between the writer and documentarian (the first being Fast Food Nation, which became the basis for Kenner’s documentary Food Inc.)

Constructed of interviews with key players, same as in Schlosser’s book, the film also recreates the night of the accident in the only remaining missile silo that is an exact replica of the one in question.

“It was an amazing story that Eric wrote. The challenge was, how do you make it a movie?” Kenner tells Where to Watch. “Here’s this incredible incident, and why didn’t we know about it? What I found footage of, was people talking on the national news about the missile that blew up. But there was never the recognition that the warhead could blow up. And take out Arkansas and much of the Eastern seaboard. There was some amazing footage, but not quite enough. It was gaining access to the only missile silo in the world that was an exact duplicate of that Damascus one that enabled us to go make what is, in a funny way, a techno-thriller. This film is very different than Food, Inc. There I was inspired by Eric’s book, and then went to find stories. This was very much taking Eric’s book, interviewing the characters, and shooting almost a Hollywood movie.”

Read the full story here.

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