*Discovery Channel’s “Manhunt: Unabomber” premieres this week and takes a look at how FBI agent Jim “Fitz” Fitzgerald brought down “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski through his work in forensic linguistics.
The series stars Sam Worthington as the criminal profiler, BAFTA-nominated Paul Bettany as Kaczynski and two-time Golden Globe nominee and SAG Award nominated actor Chris Noth as Don Ackerman, the Bay Area Divisional Head of the FBI.
Kaczynski is a mathematician best known for a campaign of letter bombs he sent as the ‘Unabomber’ over a nearly 20-year period, resulting in three fatalities, per biography.com
EUR/Electronic Urban Report correspondent Ny MaGee caught up with Bettany and Noth during the Discovery Channel’s ‘Unabomber’ Los Angeles Reception on July 26, where both actors revealed what they would say to or ask Kaczynski if given the opportunity.
“I’ve thought about this a lot ‘cause it’s a really good question, and my real main question is, if it was really about your fury at the industrial society and how industrialization has enslaved us all, and taken away our autumn, if that was really what your beef was, why not take down a national power grid. Why human beings? Why flesh and blood?,” said Bethany.
“Because surely there are symbolic actions that you could’ve taken. Things that you could’ve blown up that didn’t involve bone and gristle and children and parents and families. So that’s the bit that I have difficulty with. This was about a deeper fury and a deeper hurt. A hurt that was old an ancient and came from earlier on.”
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Kaczynski penned a manifesto titled “Industrial Society and its Future” and it speaks to the “erosion of human freedom necessitated by modern technologies requiring large-scale organization.”
In 1995, Kaczynski mailed several letters to media outlets outlining his goals and demanding that his 35,000-word “Unabomber Manifesto” (as dubbed by the FBI) be printed verbatim by a major newspaper. He stated that if this demand was met, he would end his bombing campaign.
Chris Noth also told us what he would say to Ted if given the opportunity, starting with the most obvious question of: “What happened to you?”
He added, “Do human lives matter to you at all? Because you’re right about so many things but wrong about the most basic.”
And what, exactly, does Mr. Noth believe Ted was right about?
“What technology is doing to mankind, ‘cause we’re experiencing it now, and how we’ve become slaves to it. And the destruction of the environment, he was on to that, like… big time.”
Meanwhile, during the ‘Discovery Channel – Discovery’ portion of the TCA Summer Event at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 26 in Beverly Hills, Sam Worthington talked about his approach to capturing this real life persona, and whether or not met with Jim Fitzgerald or read any of his books.
“At first I thought it would be very hard when you make someone play some real guys in movies before, and I thought that if you meet someone, people have their different perception of who they are, especially 20 years ago if I asked you who you think you are, where, back then, you were probably a lot cooler than you are or were. So I’ve kind of held off as long as I could from meeting him,” he said. “The other thing is he’s a profiler. So he would have been trying to profile me at the same time as I’m trying to profile the profiler. So we probably would have gotten nowhere, and you certainly wouldn’t have gotten to the truth of what drove him and what kept him connected so intensely to that case,” he explained.
Continuing, “I did read his books. I tried a method where I looked at everything on the outside. I listened to a lot of the transcripts, kind of dialogs that he did with the writers and the directors. There were times when he would walk away, off, and forget that he was on mic that I started to discover who he really was, because there was no guard. So it sounds funny, but him walking to the toilet and coming back and just communicating with people about regular stuff was fascinating for me. So I would watch him on YouTube, and it was the moments I could find where it was almost, yeah, when he was off guard that I kind of found a way in. And then I eventually did meet him when we were filming.”
Worthington added, “By that time, I had made certain decisions based on the script and what I’d uncovered. And just as I said to him, “Look, you’ve got to show your warts and all the good and bad. That’s the only way it’s going to work. And, hopefully, you appreciate this.” And I think he just turned around and said, “Well I was left-handed, not right-handed.” So he’s a very literal man, and I think I got what I need from the world around him.”
Tune in to “Manhunt: Unabomber” on Tuesday, August 1 at 9 PM ET/PT on the Discovery and watch the rest of this special 8-part series on Tuesdays nights.