Thanks to the magic of editing, President Obama will have a starring role in a television drama about one of his biggest accomplishments — the killing of Osama bin Laden — that will be shown just two nights before the presidential election. But the star turn is virtually certain to bolster claims that the approximately 90-minute film amounts to a political stunt. Set for a prime-time debut on Nov. 4 on the National Geographic Channel, and a release the next day on Netflix, the film — “SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden” — is being backed by Harvey Weinstein, a longtime Democratic contributor and one of the Obama campaign’s most vigorous backers. Mr. Weinstein bought the rights to the film for about $2.5 million at the Cannes festival in May.
It tells the story of the hunt by intelligence operatives and Navy commandos for Bin Laden, who was killed on May 2, 2011, in Pakistan. But promotional materials and a copy of the movie provided to The New York Times this week also show that the film has been recut, using news and documentary footage to strengthen Mr. Obama’s role and provide a window into decision-making in the White House.
In a joint interview on Tuesday Mr. Weinstein; the film’s director, John Stockwell; and others said the changes to the film were not politically motivated but were meant to give the film a stronger sense of realism. Some of the Obama moments were added at the suggestion of Mr. Weinstein, they said, using material gathered by Meghan O’Hara, a producer who worked closely with the documentarian Michael Moore on politically charged projects like “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Sicko.”
But Mr. Stockwell said he had included Mr. Obama as a character in his film from the beginning, and had actually shrunk his screen time somewhat. And Howard T. Owens, the president of the National Geographic Channel, who joined the call, said his company had insisted on removing a scene that showed Mitt Romney appearing to oppose the raid….