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'The 15:17 To Paris' Film Uses Real Life Heroes To Play Themselves

February 8, 2018 1:32 p.m.


Spencer Stone, plays himself in 'The 15:17 to Paris'

Alek Skarlatos, plays himself in 'The 15:17 to Paris'

Anthony Sadler, plays himself in 'The 15:17 to Paris'

Beth Accomando, KPBS arts reporter

Related Story: 'The 15:17 To Paris' Film Uses Real Life Heroes To Play Themselves


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

>> On August 21, 2015 three young American men thwarted at terrorist attack or lien -- on a train. That is at the center of a new film, the 1517 to peers. The three heroes will play themselves. Beth speaks with Alex's car lotto and Anthony Sadler about the experience. Michael
>> What is it like playing yourself at a movie?
>> The whole thing was kind of surreal for us, especially the first day of the train filming. It was strange. We had on the same close, the same people and our friends, it was strange to live it twice. It was just a lot of fun. I'm really glad we got to do it and have Clint Eastwood directed.
>> What was it like for you, Spencer.
>> You have to get used to the filming process. Thing ourselves, we had to get over insecurities. That was a little weird at first. Once we got the hang of it, we had a good teacher to help us do that. We got into a pretty good read them. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the process.
>> Anthony, what was it like for you?
>> He wanted it to be authentic to our story. It was weird playing yourself because you are trying to discern what you will depict on camera because it is yourself. He took the weight of shooting a motion picture off of us. He told us to keep it simple. I think having the three of us to bounce off of each other made for an easier process. He gave us the freedom to be ourselves. We trusted him to capture that. The trust went both ways. It was a good feeling. It made for a smooth process.
>> You should've heard this guy. Nothing is stopping us. If we were not meant to be on the train, something would have physically stop this.
>> I can't deal with it.
>> Was there ever a moment where the screenwriter or Clint Eastwood said it would play better like this and that was not the way it really happened? Did that ever happen.
>> Not exactly like that. They had some inaccuracies in the script. I think the cool thing about Mister Eastwood is that he made his partners in the film. All we had to do was suggest something and he would change it. We were incredibly grateful for that. It will be a very accurate movie.
>> They can be very slow on the set and things can be taken in little pieces. In the scenes on the train where you had to reenact the violence that happened and breaking it down into little pieces God did he give you a different perspective on it, did you have or have a moment where you said wow, I'm surprised I actually did that? In breaking it down into pieces did you see it differently? I go we learned a lot about it. Warner Bros. did their research and we got to hear a lot of witness statements that police reports of things we did not know before. That was actually fantastic. We got to learn as much as we have a good about the attack. Breaking it down to doing it so many times it was therapeutic because it made us comprehend and understand everything that we did that day. It helped put it behind us behind -- it helped put it behind us.
>> I remember how much adrenaline played such of -- played such a factor. I softly wrestled around with the Ray. I would be bumping my elbow on things and hitting my head against the glass.
>> I don't remember that hurting that bad in the moment. It was kind of crazy. I realized how much adrenaline changes your physical feelings that your mind and how you react to things.
>> It brought it full circle for us. We were there with other people who played themselves and we went for the accuracy of things instead of trying to make it Hollywood. It made for an interesting process that we were all happy to go through together again.
>> You mentioned there were other people playing themselves in this. Was is a bit of a reunion? I go yes. We all played ourselves. We had the same medical team and police officers that came in. Some of the same train employees came in.
>> It was a giant reunion.
>> What was the most difficult thing?
>> Just being there and having all those people. It was pretty daunting. In the first scene he was trying to direct me from inside a Humvee. He was making gestures and phases. I remember thinking, this is insane. I can't believe I'm doing this and we are here making a movie about our life and there is crew and Clint Eastwood is hanging off the side of a Humvee. I had to laugh about the whole situation a little bit. From their it was -- I was a little bit more lighthearted. That it was easier for me to be myself.
>> So, how was it working with him?
>> He doesn't over direct if I even know what that is. He is, he will come over and say a joke and now I am laughing. We are just having a beer or something and he will walk away.
>> He's already recording us. Half the time he was recording and we didn't even know. He is a master. He can direct without being verbal with it. It is more like a tone that he sets on the set where people are just calm. We are just trying to catch things organically, not necessarily shooting a movie. Just live in the moment. That was the by then we got. We learned his process. That made it as easy as it could to ease into it. We would've been nervous if there were big actions and cuts and this and that.
>> He has a unique ability to make you feel very relaxed. Especially in such a high pressure situation. There is a ton of money being fronted to make this money and hundreds of people working on it. Clint Eastwood is taking time out of his day to make this movie. Somehow, he makes you feel completely at ease with it. I don't know how he does it.
>> He is such a cool guy.
>> How was the onset experience for you?
>> He makes you feel very at ease. He is very down-to-earth. That made it easier for us to be ourselves and I think it turned out pretty well.
>> All right. Thank you all very much.