Alex Skarlatos’ life changed forever on the day he and two his childhood friends stopped a terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train. Now, he is the star of a Clint Eastwood movie based on his own story, “15:17 to Paris”, which premieres in theaters across the country on February 9.
The events depicted in the film take place on August 21, 2015, on a Thalys train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris, in which three Americans on vacation (two of them, members of the military) end up being international heroes after stopping a terrorist brandishing a gun in the train carriage, then tieing him up and protecting the other passengers from harm.
Before the creation of this movie, a book had already been written about the story of the three men, which partly forms the basis for this script. The book, titled “The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes”, was written by the three men involved in the incident – Alex Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, and Spencer Stone – along with author Jeffrey E. Stern.
In a surprising choice for this kind of wide studio release, the three men will be playing themselves in the movie, rather than being portrayed by actors. Young actors have also been hired to play the childhood versions of the men.
When interviewed about the choice to cast the three men as themselves, Eastwood talked about how after he spent time with the three friends, he asked them one day, “Do you guys think you could play yourselves?”
Not only the three heroes, but a lot of other people involved in the movie were really on the scene when the terrorist attack was thwarted as well. Clint Eastwood says, “We got the man who was shot and his wife, all the first responders, some of the people in the finale are back, it was their experience.”
“I knew what I wanted to shoot, but the adventure was real”, Eastwood concludes.
You can watch the full interview with director Clint Eastwood above. Go to a theater near you on February 9 for the US premiere of “15:17 to Paris” to see Alex Skarlatos in action.