12 STRONG A Must See!!!
Thank you, Warner Brothers for inviting me to a Pre-Screening and Press Junket of 12 Strong hitting theaters January 19. Most importantly thank you Warner Brothers for educating me on these 12 men that fought for our country without a second's thought of leaving their families and their lives. These 12 brave men are the epitome of what our country stands for, they are the backbone of our glorious country, strength, determination and never giving up.
I recommend this movie not because it has 12 of the most outrageously good looking men from Chris Hemsworth, Geoff Stults, Michael Shannon, William Fichtner, Michael Shannon, Taylor Sheridan, Michael Peña, Trevante Rhodes, Jack Kesy and more. Watch it because it is the story of these brave men who were given a mission, accepted and conquered as a team. Our children know of 911 through their studies or overhearing us talk about the most horrific time of our lives but they need to be told about the 12 Horsemen! 12 Strong is also a book that I would incorporate into homeschooling and if you’re not homeschooling, for kids 8 and above I’d have them read it, immediately. This piece of history will forever be etched into my mind, I remember exactly where I was when 911 occurred, I was getting ready for work. I lived in Newport Beach and I was the Estee Lauder Account Coordinator for the San Diego territory and I was headed out to SD, the Today show was on and all hell started breaking loose. I sat there on my bed and cried, terrified and helpless. Didn’t know how our country would retaliate, if we could, I prayed that the people and or person behind this monstrous act would pay the price of taking away so many innocent lives from their loved ones.
I was given a chance to ask the cast what they wanted people to learn about these brave men and their story.
Kathy: I left last night with so many emotions. I was overwhelmed and didn’t sleep at all last night because I had learned so much from the movie and what these heroes truly did for our country by sacrificing their own lives. If there was one thing that you could say that a person could learn from it, what they can walk away knowing from this movie, what is it that you could share?
Navid Negahban: There is an expression that says “You can see the truth when you are blind and you can hear the truth when you are deaf.” So if you put all the differences aside and look at the person as who the person is, then you will see how similar we are, and then you will discover our similarities, not our differences, and that’s what the world is about. It’s about us being the same. There’s no difference, except the color, who cares? Go inside. What you find inside you is pure white, and there is no difference between the white that is inside me or anybody else who is sitting here. All of us, we are the same.
Geoff Stults: I don’t know if this answers your question, but to me, this is the thing to take away for me is that I think everybody that was old enough obviously remembers where they were at and the way they felt on 9/11. There are plenty of other stories, even at this time, there are other operations happening.This one just happens to be written really well by Doug and it really shows the story, but these are 12 guys that made what ended up-- what could have been-- they chose to make what could have been the ultimate sacrifice because of what they believed in, what they believed America stood for and what they-- they left their families behind. Some guys left their families behind and they knew that there was a chance that some, if not all of them, wouldn’t come back. This is about a love for one another and a love for the ideal of what America is, and they believed that they were making a difference so that nothing like 9/11 would happen again.
Thad Luckinbill: Yes. I kind of echo that. I think, for me, what stands out most is the bravery of these guys. Like you said, a lot of us in this room remember where we were and what we were thinking on 9/11 and just the fact that these guys were essentially the first guys in, didn’t really know how to do the job they were supposed to do. They learned on the fly and they did it without complaining I’m sure they complained a little bit, but they did it through bravery and patriotism and the right way, and that was really neat to portray.
Molly Smith: Absolutely, I mean, there are so many elements into this story, but I think something that people-- we’ve seen people respond to when that they’ve screened the film is the sacrifice. There’s a line in the movie I love so much where it says-- Michael Shannon says, “How do you love your family and leave them to go to war?” And I think that’s such a poetic, beautiful line, because people do this every day, and they make sacrifices for their country, the camaraderie, the love, it’s their duty, and I think we really tried to capture the spirit of the military, all branches of the military, and soldiers in general. You know, by showing some of the layers and complexities of the home life and their families, and then, of course, seeing the scope of what these guys went to go do because they felt a sense of duty to fight for their country.
Chris Hemsworth: Yes. You know, something that I feel like-- a big thing that I took away from this experience, and this was definitely with the real guys themselves talking about how important it was for them, for their own survival first, first when they first got there to convince the local people they were fighting with that they weren’t there to occupy the country; they were there to chase the same enemy. And, have Navid said, the local people that we have working with us from Afghanistan living in Albuquerque, a number of them came up and said, “Thank you for telling this story, because I was there. I fought with the Americans, but the whole world thinks I’m a terrorist.” And he said, “I think it’s so important that, you know, people know that we are on the same side, and the invading forces, the Taliban, the Al Qaeda, that they’re the ones who are coming in to take over and to restructure thePlace. And so yes, as you say, a lot of them normally didn’t want to be involved in the films like this, but sort of couldn’t get there quick enough. So that meant a lot, I think, to all of us and, as I said, that was certainly something that the soldiers were very concerned with as well in this mission. I think that collaboration and the heart and the bond and the brotherhood that they shared.
Jerry Bruckheimer: I think that these men don’t see themselves as heroes. They’re just doing their jobs. That’s what they’re trained to do. They do it because they love their country, they love their families, and their professionals, and they’re highly trained, they’re highly intelligent and they’re deadly. And the fact that they went into this country and bonded with the Afghan people, and you have to understand that there’s so many different tribes, and they all-- they show it in the movie, where they all fight amongst each other, and the fact that this group of 12 men got in there and got them all to work together against a common foe, which is so interesting, and it all comes down to our military and how well-trained these men are, and they don’t see it as sacrifice. They see it as something that that’s their job. That’s what they’re trained to do. And they’re so good at it, and we’re very fortunate that we could show their excellence in this movie and, thanks to Doug, who found this story, and I think you should tell them how you found the story because this was classified. We would never know about this story had it not been for Doug digging in when he ran into a soldier who started telling him about this classified mission that he couldn’t talk about. And so that’s so interesting, and this is just one mission. There’s so many others that we know nothing about that they’ve done. What happened right after 9/11 is President Bush went to his military and said, “We have to root out this evil, and how can we do it?” And the military advisors said, “Well, it’s going to take us at least six months to put a force over there.” And he said, “That is not acceptable. Tell me another way.” And they went to, I guess, George Tenet who was the head of the CIA at the time, and he went to-- one of his operatives, this CIA agent, and he said, “I want you to get in there.” He put his hand on a map and he said, “I want these five provinces. I’m not going to ask any questions, just get it done.” And that was JR Seiger and he went in there right after 9/11 with, I think, seven guys. And he was the first group to go in and quickly, I guess a week or two after that is these two guys went in. So it just shows you what a small force can do, and how good they are at their job.
Trevante Rhodes: I hope that people take away the identity, that connectivity, love, camaraderie, brotherhood, sisterhood, you know? Just I guess basically to relay what everybody else was saying. Just loving and being open and connecting with people, and perspective and understanding. Because my understanding of what anybody, in all honesty, from the Middle East, was after this event was anybody from the Middle East is bad, which is so ignorant, you know what I mean? So to have the opportunity to read this story and be a part of this story, that shows the truth. And yes, again, and it was amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And that’s what I hope that people take away from the film.
Nicolai Fuglsig: I think in a way, to sum up, I think it’s an homage to the human spirit, you know? I mean, both on the Afghan and American side, all these heroes were just ordinary people, and it could be a friend, your neighbor, and under extreme circumstances, they all rose to the extraordinary, you know?
Doug Stanton: It’s funny, you brought up that scene, “How do you go to war and still love your family?” I remember sitting in Bob Pennington’s kitchen, and he gave me that line as I was interviewing him, and then I heard it in the movie. It just-- I got choked up because really in essence, this is a secret story that we’re now telling about a part of our society that’s been fighting now for 17 years. And in some ways, to walk away from this movie is to also be aware of your own communities and what’s going on and the sacrifices these people are making. I think these guys succeeded because they weren’t afraid to fail, and we talk so much about success in this country, which is great, but the reality is the SF, Special Forces guys, are trained to learn how to fail. And if you go home to your homeschoolers, that is one thing that you can really take to them about what you can learn, and to be adaptable and open to change and, you know, these sound like kind of abstract ideas, but the people that Trevante and everyone else, and Chris and Geoff are playing, that’s what they go to school on. So this is a completely different kind of take on the combat movie.
ABOUT THE MOVIE
Heart of a hero. Courage of a warrior. 12 Strong is in theaters January 19.
Chris Hemsworth (“Thor,” “The Avengers” films) and Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road,” “Nocturnal Animals”) star in “12 Strong,” a powerful new war drama from Alcon Entertainment, Black Label Media, and Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Based on Doug Stanton's best-selling book, "Horse Soldiers," it is story of heroism based on true events that unfolded a world away in the aftermath of 9/11.
“12 Strong” is set in the harrowing days following 9/11 when a U.S. Special Forces team, led by their new Captain, Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth), is chosen to be the first U.S. troops sent into Afghanistan for an extremely dangerous mission. There, in the rugged mountains, they must convince Northern Alliance General Dostum (Navid Negahban) to join forces with them to fight their common adversary: the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies. In addition to overcoming mutual distrust and a vast cultural divide, the Americans—accustomed to state-of-the-art warfare—must adopt the rudimentary tactics of the Afghani horse soldiers. But despite their uneasy bond, the new allies face overwhelming odds: outnumbered and outgunned by a ruthless enemy that does not take prisoners.
Rated R for war violence and language throughout.