Real-life heroes play themselves in a new trailer for Clint Eastwood's The 15:17 to Paris. Eastwood's 36th feature film as a director was written by Dorothy Blyskal, based on a book by Jeffrey E. Stern, Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos. Warner Bros. at first hoped to have the film out in time for this year's Oscar race, but it was held back until 2018.
15:17 to Paris tells the story of 2015's Thalys train incident, when a lone gunman attacked a train from Amsterdam to Paris. Unarmed Americans Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos risked their lives along with other passengers to subdue the terrorist. The American trio, along with British man Chris Norman, received the Legion of Honour from the French government in recognition of their bravery. For the movie, Clint Eastwood made the unique decision to cast the real-life heroes as themselves.
The Today Show has debuted a new trailer for The 15:17 to Paris. Non-actors and childhood friends Stone, Sadler and Skarlatos play themselves, a trio of fun-loving guys enjoying their European vacation. The good times come to a screeching halt when a man with a machine gun invades the train. See the trailer above.
Flashbacks give us a glimpse of the main characters when they were kids learning values together in Sacramento County, CA. Professional actors Judy Greer and Jenna Fischer play worried moms. Tony Hale doesn't make it into the trailer, but he's in the movie too as a gym teacher, which by itself could be worth the price of admission. Skarlatos and Stone go on to serve in the military, with Skarlatos doing a hitch in Afghanistan.
This is not a subtle trailer, but it's effective in setting up the basic situation. Like Eastwood's Sully, 15:17 to Paris concerns the heroism of regular people rising up in the face of danger. Eastwood hopes to give the film a dash of authenticity by casting the real-life figures as themselves. This approach has worked in the past, notably in the classic The Best Years of Our Lives, when disabled war veteran Harold Russell won an Oscar playing himself. It's also a good way to keep the budget down (Eastwood as always is a cost-conscious director).
With its early-year release, 15:17 to Paris probably won't be an awards contender, a rarity for an Eastwood film. This one looks like a rousing straight-ahead thriller with some heart-warming themes. Unlike American Sniper, this one shouldn't be too politically divisive.
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