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<span>Q: I saw the movie "Breach," with Chris Cooper, in the theater a few years back, but was recently told it was based on a true story. Is that true?</span>

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Author: 
Adam Thomlison / TV Media

Not only is "Breach" (2007) based on a true story, it's based on "one of the worst cases of espionage the FBI has ever encountered." That's how CNN described the case at the time.

In the film, Chris Cooper ("American Beauty," 1999) plays Robert Hanssen, a veteran FBI agent working in counterintelligence to catch Soviet spies. However, it was revealed in February 2001 that for most of that time, Hanssen was, in fact, spying for them.

Ryan Phillippe ("Cruel Intentions," 1999), the film's other star, plays Eric O'Neill, the FBI agent tasked with spying on the spy (espionage gets confusing). The real-life O'Neill worked closely with the film's producers to add some realism. In a subsequent interview with the London Telegraph, he said Cooper's performance was almost uncomfortably accurate.

The FBI itself worked with the filmmakers as well. O'Neill said that was a wise strategic move. "It's better to work with Hollywood than against it."

 

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