Meet Tina Fey's real-life inspiration for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

A wry new war film starring Tina Fey is based on the true story of journalist Kim Barker— kind of.
A wry new war film starring Tina Fey is based on the true story of journalist Kim Barker— kind of. (Broadway Video)

Listen to the interview above or watch it below. 

Yes, there are frat-style parties in war zones. And reporters really do become addicted to the "high" of war reporting. 

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, starring Tina Fey, may be a fictionalized version of a foreign correspondent's first assignment to Afghanistan and Pakistan — but there's a lot of truth in the retelling, says Kim Barker. 

And she should know.

Barker is the real journalist who inspired the film, which is neither a typical war drama nor a strictly comedic Fey project. Although the film draws heavily from Barker's book, The Taliban Shuffle, the filmmakers make full use of their creative license. The reporter's dark humour translates to the big screen, but other details — like the R in her last name — didn't make the cut.

Today Barker joins Shad to share the absurd, heartfelt and frustrating stories that inspired the film, the strange culture of the "kabubble", and why she's more than okay with the adaptation. 

"Obviously, they've Hollywooded it up. There's more bang bang," she laughs. 

Both reporters and locals find ways to have their fun too, says Kim Barker. There's good and bad on the ground. (Ben Shannon/Fabiola Carletti/CBC)

WEB EXTRA | Although the trailer (below) puts emphasis on the comedy, the film offers a lot of texture that's hard to sum up in highlights. 


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?