'Nearly Unprecedented' Move for Clint Eastwood's Next Film
Director casts real-life heroes who stopped 2015 Paris train attack to play themselves
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2017 7:50 AM CDT
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In this Sept. 11, 2015, file photo, Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, left, US Airman Spencer Stone, center, and Anthony Sadler attend a parade in Sacramento, Calif., held to honor them after they stopped a gunman on a Paris-bound passenger train.   (AP Photo/Carl Costas, File)

(Newser) – Clint Eastwood's Sully was called "electrifying," and the next movie on his directing roster is promising to be another heart-stopper—and headline-grabbing, thanks to an unusual move he made in casting it. The upcoming film is called The 15:17 to Paris, which documents the 2015 terrorist train attack in Paris and the three Americans who thwarted it, and the AP reports that Eastwood has cast the three actual friends from California—two of them servicemen—in the starring roles. A Warner Bros. statement notes that Anthony Sadler, Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, and US Air Force Airman First Class Spencer Stone will play the "heroic trio" in the movie about their lives and how their "brave act turned them into heroes during a [high-speed] railway ride."

Variety notes that Eastwood made a similar casting decision when he sought actors for 2008's Gran Torino, in which most of the names (other than his own) were unknown. Sources also tell the magazine that, while the three men will have "good-sized roles," their star turns aren't "full-on leads," as the film will trace their lives back to childhood (meaning younger actors will play those parts). The AP, which says real-life subjects more often have cameos with just a few lines, calls Eastwood's move "nearly unprecedented in recent Hollywood history." Skarlatos has already had his brush with screen fame: After the Paris attack, he competed on ABC's Dancing With the Stars, coming in third place. The 15:17 to Paris, which the Hollywood Reporter notes is based on a book co-authored by the three men, will also star Jenna Fischer of The Office and Judy Greer.

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