Interview with the 12 Strong Cast in Hollywood
Earlier this month, we were invited to Hollywood to screen 12 Strong (travel and accommodations were provided by Warner Bros. Pictures). 12 Strong is Warner Bros’ new military movie based on the book Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton and debuts in theaters on January 19th. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Trevante Rhodes and more, this movie tells the story of a classified mission which took place in Afghanistan immediately following the events of 9-11. Not only was this star-studded trip taking place at the memorable London in WeHo, we then attended the press Interview with the 12 Strong Cast in Hollywood. What a weekend it was!
The event began on a gorgeous, sunny Southern California day. The London Hotel is the perfect place to host an event of this magnitude. Every guest suite has a view of Los Angeles or the Hollywood Hills,
We were thrilled to be one of ten bloggers included, and we all met each other — many for the first time — for a happy hour session before the screening began.
Between bites of sushi, veggie sliders and other delicious food, we shared our excitement to see the movie and our stories regarding our own involvement with the military.
Truly it was an honor to be a part of this group.
Interview with the 12 Strong Cast in Hollywood
12 Strong debuts in theaters on January 19, so I won’t share any spoilers but I will say that this is a story that everyone needs to hear. It’s so remarkable, it needs to be included in history books. Everyone over a certain age has memories embedded in their head forever of where they were when they heard the news about the planes hitting the towers in New York City. We remember the panic of watching the TV to see what happened next, and the disbelief when the towers fell. We watched heroes rush into the buildings and only some of them come back out alive. In the weeks and months that followed, we heard daily news broadcasts about military action to find those responsible, but we didn’t hear about the horse soldiers. These 12 heroes that risked their lives in an unprecedented mission.
Now their story will be told, and the 12 Strong cast does so in a way that you’ll be on the edge of your seat.
The 12 Strong press conference featured Chris Hemsworth, Trevante Rhodes, Geoff Stults, Navid Negahban, Nicolai Fuglsig (Director), Jerry Bruckheimer (Producer), Molly Smith (Producer), Thad Luckinbill (Producer) and Doug Stanton (Book Author). As a huge fan of Chris Hemsworth, I may have held my breath a little as they walked into the room but hearing the behind-the-scenes scoop on the unbelievable heroics that inspired this movie quickly caught my attention.
As expected, the first question asked by press was to Chris Hemsworth. The writer related how often the military is not portrayed in the best of ways and that 12 Strong was an exception, so was this part of the reason Chris chose to make the movie? Chris recounted how they all felt the weight of the responsibility in portraying the actual real-life people properly. He’d made so many superhero movies that he was really wanting to take on the role of something that was more grounding, and that he’d heard about the movie quite some time before they were able to begin filming due to his existing MCU schedule. Without a doubt, it was easy to see his admiration for the real people (whose names were changed in the movie) who were in attendance during filming to help ensure realism.
The same question was posed to Trevante, whose answer is best shared verbatim:
“Well, I think the difference between a warrior and a soldier is warriors lead with their heart, soldiers lead with their mind.”
How do you follow that?
Jerry Bruckheimer made it happen though, by pointing out that this movie is about America working to drive social change. In a nutshell, yes, by working alongside the Afghan people with whom they shared a common goal: taking out the Taliban.
One of the many incredible stories from the behind-the-scenes was how they also reached out to Afghan people while filming. The majority of the movie was filmed in or near Albuquerque, New Mexico, which happens to be the residence for many Afghan refugees. Navid (who plays General Dostum, leader of the Alliance) reached out to them for their input on the movie, and around 700 people showed up. Can you imagine what it must have been like to see that? Some of them were even there during this mission.
We could have listened to Navid speak all evening, but this quote stands out above and beyond klonopin online pharmacy no prescription anything else we heard that night:
“There is an expression that says “You can see the truth when you are blind and you can hear the truth when you are deaf.” So if you put all the differences aside and look at the person as who the person is, then you will see how similar we are, and then you will discover our similarities, not our differences, and that’s what the world is about.”
That’s something we should all remember. Then when Navid said that some of them came up to him after to thank him for making the movie, “I fought with the Americans, but they all think I’m a terrorist.” Your heart just breaks a little. Social change, yes, it needs to happen.
Trevante hit on that a little more, sharing how so many people felt that anyone from the Middle East is bad, but that is not the truth. His hope is that people take away from the film how wrong that is, and how we need to love and connect with people.
Watching the news, we see one perspective but Chris brought it all home when he stated that these soldiers had to make sure that the Afghan people realized they were there to help them and to not take over. They were there as support to help the Afghan people chase away the same enemy. So impactful! Nothing can ever prepare us for what it really feels like to enter a foreign land in a foreign uniform, surrounded by languages we likely don’t speak, and strive to help the citizens trust us and our goals. It’s the kind of thing that gives you goosebumps and the movie does the same.
You will leave the theater with a new perspective and a new appreciation of just what it was really like for our soldiers and the local people. While I wish we’d all heard this story much earlier, the safety of everyone is far more important. As Jerry outlined, the soldiers didn’t want the glory or the attention, but to protect, defend and unite. They’re there to do their job. Our soldiers have families and loved ones who want them to return, but the soldiers have work to do and this movie helps civilians see it in a more realistic way than many movies have portrayed.
As far as being prepared for the physicality that this movie required, Chris shared that they all went through four-weeks of military training. There were jokes about being confident that they were up to the challenge, as in, “No, we will walk up the hill” but three steps in, “Hey, bring the truck back!” Navid joked about how he used to ride horses but he quickly realized he didn’t know what to do and at times, had to be helped on and off the horse. There was a lot of laughter during these stories, and it was clear that the camaraderie amongst the 12 Strong cast was befitting of the name, “strong.”
Here is the official trailer, watch it, tell me what you think of this movie. I can not wait to attend the World Premier this Tuesday in NYC with my Husband (who is a 15 yr Veteran of the US Navy, and was serving during 9/11.)
Go see this movie. You will leave with a whole new perspective, and a hunger to know more. I’m in the middle of the book and while it will take me longer than I’d like to finish it (I’m a mom), it had me hooked on page two. 12 Strong, by Warner Bros. Pictures, hits theaters on January 19, so buy your tickets now!
A very special Thank you to Donna from Dangerous Cupcake Lifestyle for attending this event and doing such a great job covering it. I can not wait to read Donna’s review of 12 Strong! My Husband and I will be attending the World Premier in NYC on Tuesday and we will be walking down the magical red carpet. I can not tell you how excited I am for this movie. As a Military Wife, I spent 15 years in this lifestyle, my Husband was coming home from a Deployment when 9-11 happened and they were re-routed to protect our Country. I know what those Spouses felt. He knows what the Soldiers’ felt. I know these feelings all too well and I know that my Husband is extremely honored to not only have been invited to attend the World premier, but also to walk down the red carpet and attend an after-party. When people thank him, like many Soldiers, he says he was just doing his job, so I am honored to attend something that brings pride to him and his fellow Military Brothers and Sisters.
A Soldier is as strong as his word.