© 2017 HS FILM, LLC(NEW YORK) — As its name suggests, today’s new release, 12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers, is based on actual events — but you’d be forgiven if you thought it was made up.
The stars of the film, including Thor star Chris Hemsworth, Ant-Man‘s Michael Pena [PEYn-yah], and Moonlight‘s Trevante Rhodes thought so too, at first — before they got to know the American heroes who actually lived it.
In the days after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, American Special Forces deployed operatives to Afghanistan, in an extremely dangerous mission to convince locals to turn against Osama bin Laden and his Taliban army.
As part of their blending in with the local resistance fighters — one of the specialties of Special Forces operators — Americans did battle with the heavily armed Islamic extremists using horses to charge across the perilous terrain.
For Hemsworth, the movie highlighted real-life superheroes. “I’ve done a lot of stuff in the comic book world…but I desperately wanted to do something…more grounded…And this script came along a few years ago, and my first instinct was, I just couldn’t believe it was a true story.”
Like Hemsworth, who plays the squad’s leader, Pena and Rhodes relished the chance to meet and work with the real-life heroes they played on screen. “These men are interesting,” Pena tells ABC Radio, “because of course they feel fear …but it’s their willingness to overcome that — I think not everyone has that ability.”
Rhodes adds, “Obviously it was massively valuable…We had dinner with them a couple of times…We worked out together, we ate together. It was … an honor.”
The movie also stars Rob Riggle — who, in his pre-fame days, was a Marine pilot. Incidentally, the Daily Show alum holds the rank of Lt. Colonel in real life, and in 12 Strong he plays the man he served under, Lt. Col. Max Bowers, one of the mission’s commanders.
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