(February 6, 2018) A movie depicting the heroic actions of three childhood friends, including one who was a member of the National Guard at the time, will open Friday. The three men portray themselves in “The 15:17 to Paris,” which was directed by Clint Eastwood and based on a book the three friends wrote.
In August 2015, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler were traveling on the train from Amsterdam when they tackled and disarmed a gunman who had opened fire. Skarlatos was in the Oregon Army National Guard at the time. Stone was in the Air Force. Skarlatos received a Soldier’s Medal from the Army and a Valley Forge Cross for Heroism from NGAUS.
The three spoke recently to Army Times about the movie-making experience. Skarlatos, who is no longer in the Guard, described it this way:
“The cool thing about it was that [Eastwood] just told us to do it how we did it. We asked him if we should take classes because that was something we were worried about obviously since he was taking such a huge risk by doing this, but he just told us to be ourselves. And [he said] if we took some acting classes it’d probably just look like we were acting, and he wanted it just to be authentic to who we were.
“It was a little stressful because, like I said, we’d never done it before. The first couple days of doing it was kind of an adjustment. But once we got used to it, it was actually just a lot of fun. I mean, Mr. Eastwood’s a legend and he was a great person to work with, super down to earth. And experiencing it with your two best friends that you’ve had since you were a little kid, I couldn’t imagine a better experience.”
Several other roles were also filled by the people involved in the real event. This includes the man who was shot and the British citizen who tied up the gunman after he was subdued, along with train employees, medical professionals and police.