Clint Eastwood just made a pretty bold and interesting decision for his next movie. Instead of casting actors to play real-life heroes, he simply decided to cast the actual real-life heroes. The 15:17 to Paris, which is based on the ISIS terrorist attack that was prevented by three friends in August of 2015, is going to star Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone as themselves in the big screen retelling of their heroic tale that saved the lives of hundreds of people on a train from Brussels to Paris. The movie has already begun production this week.
According to Variety, Clint Eastwood had been looking at actors to play the three heroes in 15:17 to Paris and he and Warner Bros. had reportedly settled on actors to take on the roles. However, at the last minute, they decided to bring in Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone to do it themselves. This is pretty non-traditional, but with a director like Eastwood at the helm, it is a move that could really pay off. The movie is going to be based on the book of the same name. In case you aren't familiar with the event, here's the synopsis of the 15:17 to Paris novel.
"On August 21, 2015, Ayoub El-Khazzani boarded train #9364 in Brussels, bound for Paris. There could be no doubt about his mission: he had an AK-47, a pistol, a box cutter, and enough ammunition to obliterate every passenger on board. Slipping into the bathroom in secret, he armed his weapons. Another major ISIS attack was about to begin. Khazzani wasn't expecting Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone. Stone was a martial arts enthusiast and airman first class in the US Air Force, Skarlatos was a member of the Oregon National Guard, and all three were fearless. But their decision-to charge the gunman, then overpower him even as he turned first his gun, then his knife, on Stone-depended on a lifetime of loyalty, support, and faith. Their friendship was forged as they came of age together in California: going to church, playing paintball, teaching each other to swear, and sticking together when they got in trouble at school. Years later, that friendship would give all of them the courage to stand in the path of one of the world's deadliest terrorist organizations."
According to the report, Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone are going to have sizable roles in the movie, but they won't be full-on leads. 15:17 to Paris is said to begin during their childhood and build to the event. So they won't have to carry the entire movie on their backs. Paul-Mikel Williams, Max Ivutin, Bryce Gheisa, Cole Eichenberger, and William Jennings have been cast to play younger versions of Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone in the movie. The rest of the cast includes Jenna Fischer, Judy Greer, and Ray Corasani. Warner Bros. has not yet announced a release date, but they will likely give it an awards-friendly release next year.
For an 87-year-old guy, Clint Eastwood certainly seems to be showing no signs of quitting. His more recent directorial efforts have focused on real-life heroes, with Sully gettting a ton of critical acclaim and $238 million at the worldwide box office. American Sniper was even more impressive, grossing $547 million worldwide and earning a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards. These types of stories are really working for Clint Eastwood, so it makes sense that he would want to continue on with them. This one sounds like it really will be truly unique, though.