HBO's new Iraq war miniseries Generation Kill debuted this weekend and already seems to be creating a stir. The seven-part series follows the marines of the 1st Recon Battalion as they enter Iraq in the spring of 2003 and includes all the action, drama, and wit you'd expect from HBO—and all the swearing, too. The series has gotten special attention because David Simon and Ed Burns , the masterminds behind The Wire, another HBO hit, wrote and produced it. Joining the Simon/Burns duo is Evan Wright , the Rolling Stone reporter actually embedded with the unit who penned the book Generation Kill, which is the basis of the series. Wright helped write the script and is a character in the show, being played by actor Lee Tergesen.
So how close is the series to the real thing? Dead on, Wright tells our Nikki Schwab.
"It's not a TV movie 'inspired by' . . . the actual artery of movement of what happened in those scenes is exactly what happened," Wright tells Whispers. "It's not like I wrote the book and they said, 'Let's do a crazy story with bullets flying,' when there were not."
The Rolling Stone reporter lucked out in getting embedded with this particular unit because he was able to spend a long chunk of time with the troops, and they fought a lot. "I spent those two months with those guys, I was living with them and taking notes, and the time element made me get a better story," he says. "It was awesome because they went from the border all the way to Baghdad shooting the whole time. Most individual units would fight in one place and not another, but they fought the whole way." Wright first wrote a series of stories about his experiences once he returned from Iraq and then later formed them into the book.
In the second episode, airing Sunday at 9 p.m., Wright joins the troops, and they see some pretty heavy fighting. For the journalist, it apparently was a real near-death experience. "Did you see that?" he says. "There were bullet holes in my door."