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Navy SEAL who killed bin Laden lands movie deal to tell his story

Robert J. O'Neill speaking at the 2018 CPAC in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gage Skidmore/Released)
February 14, 2019

Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill just inked a movie deal that is expected to tell his life story and how he came to be the man who killed Osama bin Laden.

Universal Studios secured the film rights to the biography of O’Neill’s, one of the infamous SEAL Team 6 members who raided the compound of Osama bin Laden, and the very operator who fired the fatal shot that killed him, Deadline reported last week.

Universal teamed up with Broadway Video, owned by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, for the deal. It will adopt the name of O’Neill’s biography, “The Operator: Firing the Shots That Killed Osama Bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior.”

The movie will focus on O’Neill, as opposed to the entire SEAL Team 6, which was portrayed in the film “Zero Dark Thirty.”

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The movie will portray the story of O’Neill’s life, from his upbringing in rural Montana, to a 10-year period encapsulating his Navy career, deployments around the world to support the War on Terror, and his ultimate mission of killing Osama bin Laden.

O’Neill will reportedly serve as executive producer on the project, and Michaels will also produce.

He retweeted the news on his Twitter page, but has not provided comment on the deal so far.

In 2014, O’Neill was revealed as the operator who killed bin Laden during the May 2, 2011 raid. In recent years, he has made numerous public appearances describing the events that unfolded on that day, including his thoughts on such an important mission.

“This is some serious Navy SEAL shit we’re about to do,” O’Neill said he was thinking ahead of the raid, as reported by Task & Purpose last year.

“I didn’t think I would survive,” he added.

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He has likened the action of the kill to muscle memory, recounting many drills with full-scale models, target practice and briefings all intended to prepare him for that moment.

Of his decision to go public with his name and story, O’Neill said he did it for the families.

“The families told me it helped bring them some closure,” he told The Washington Post at the time.

O’Neill retired in 2012 and has since focused his efforts on his nonprofit, Your Grateful Nation, which helps special operators transition to civilian life and work. The organization assists veterans in areas of resume development, interviews, mentoring, career assessment, and job placement, according to O’Neill’s website.