The raid in "Zero Dark Thirty" took place in real time on an near-exact replica of Bin Laden's compound.
CONAN: A lot of people have strong opinions about the torture scenes in the movie and was this implying that the torture was necessary to capture bin Laden, was it implying that it was gratuitous?
I personally felt like you couldn't tell the story of our country's involvement without including some of those scenes but did you ever think about leaving them out?
KATHRYN BIGELOW: Certainly everybody's entitled to their opinion but not really at all.
As reprehensible as torture is we felt he had to show it because it was part of the story in that 10-year span.
If we had started the story in 2008, but we didn't.
We started the story in 2001.
The gifted writer for "The New York Times" said that had we omitted those scenes she would have called it a reprehensible act of cowards so I do think that we -- coward dess so I do think we were perhaps correct in not omitting it.
CONAN: There are five Oscar nominations and it's important to you that Jessica chase contain is recognized.
When you found her you knew you had found the person who could play this part.
KATHRYN BIGELOW: She's so talented.
She has such incredible range.
Look at the bubbly blonde she was in "the help."
She just finished a play on Broadway and she plays this courageous woman at the center of an operation for the world's most dangerous man in this movie.
It shows incredible range.
She's incredibly smart and a staggering duty.
I think she well deserves her recognition.
CONAN: One of the things I didn't realize when I saw the film is that you exactly replicated Osama bin Laden's compound.
I just assumed, OK, this is movie magic, you can do it a million different ways.
You went out of your way to exactly replicate the home, is that right?
KATHRYN BIGELOW: Right.
I wanted it to be built not as a set.
Programs normally you would build each floor on a separate step but I wanted contiguous steps.
You had to build it as a three-story structure and because the blackhawk helicopters would have to hover maybe 50 feet above the building, the Roto wash was so strong that anything made out of two-by-fours would fall down so we made it out of sinneder blocks.
We matched even the tile.
It was meticulous.
We had a great art department and a great cinematographer too.
Down to the tile of the floor and the bed frame and the rug on the floor.
CONAN: There were news cameras -- ABC news, I believe, went in the next day and took a lot of view.
You -- video.
You used that --
KATHRYN BIGELOW: Frame by frame we did an analysis and tried to look at the furniture.
The oak chest in the corner.
How many hangers were in the closet?
CONAN: Does this house still exist?
You know some cream is going to want to buy it.
I want to have Osama bin Laden's house!
Move it to Bel Air.
KATHRYN BIGELOW: I know.
CONAN: What did you --
KATHRYN BIGELOW: Unfortunately the one that we built in Jordan, which is right near the dead sea, has been torn down and actually the real one has also been torn down so no trace exists.