Tina Fey remembers when she first heard about Kim Barker’s “The Taliban Shuffle,” the non-fiction book that became the film “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.” It was in the review in The New York Times.
“It said, ‘This is like a Tina Fey character.’ And because I’m an egomaniac and a moron, that really spoke to me,” Fey says at a press conference for her new movie.
In the film Fey plays a slightly fictionalized version of Barker, who spent the mid-aughts as a war correspondent in Afghanistan and Pakistan. (In order to keep things simple, it only covers Barker’s Afghanistan gig.) It’s not a full-on drama, but it’s not a full-on comedy either, even as it gives Fey plenty of chances to mine her specific brand of self-effacing humor. It’s not even, Fey maintains, a satire a la “M*A*S*H.”
“There are so many great war comedies,” says Fey. This one, she argues, is different. “This movie, at its core, is a human story. It’s not about relationships. It’s not political. It’s not ‘Dr. Strangelove.’ It’s about a woman who’s made the choice to blow up her existing life and go on this adventure.”
“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” still points out a lot of absurdities of war, including what it’s like to be a western women trying to work in this part of the world. “You’re just doing your job and someone will full-tilt grab your ass,” Fey explains.