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Eastwood Taps Real-Life Heroes to Play Themselves in Film

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By Debbie Gregory.

The 15:17 to Paris, a new film directed by Clint Eastwood, will have three unlikely stars: the three California men who famously thwarted the terror attack on the Paris-bound train.

Anthony Sadler, Alex Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone, who were vacationing in Europe at the time of the attack on August 21, 2015, will play themselves in their acting debuts.

The film is based on a book of the same name, which the men co-wrote. In an eleventh hour decision, Eastwood called off the prior casting decisions in favor of casting the real-life emergency responders. The casting move is similar to Eastwood’s “Gran Torino,” which featured an almost-unknown cast (outside of Eastwood, who also starred in the movie.)

The film will tell the story of the three men, from their childhood in Sacramento, CA to the fateful evening they faced a heavily armed Moroccan terrorist bent on a mass killing spree.

All three men received the Legion of Honor, the highest French order of merit, for their actions.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Stone also received the Airman’s Medal and the Purple Heart. Skarlatos, an Oregon Army National Guardsman and Afghan War veteran, received the Soldier’s Medal, the U.S. Army’s highest award for peacetime valor. Sadler, a civilian, was bestowed the Secretary of Defense Medal for Valor.

Eastwood recently directed two other films based on the true stories: American Sniper, the story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, and Sully, about celebrated pilot Chesley Sullenberger.

Jenna Fischer, Judy Greer, and Ray Corasani will also join the real-life heroes in the film. Paul-Mikel Williams, Max Ivutin, Bryce Gheisar, Cole Eichenberger, and William Jennings will play younger versions of the Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone.

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