On August 9, 2015, three young American backpackers—Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone—left Amsterdam on the 15:17 train bound for Paris. What the trio didn’t know when they boarded was that fellow passenger Ayoub El-Khazzani was planning a terrorist attack on that very locomotive.

The Clint Eastwood-directed The 15:17 to Paris—in theatres Feb. 9!—tells the true story of how these three normal dudes came to save approximately 500 people from a gruesome demise, catching the bad guy in the process. Perhaps most interestingly, instead of tapping Bradley Cooper or Jake Gyllenhaal, The 15:17 to Paris is the first major film to cast the *actual* subjects of the story as themselves.

Were Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone at all reluctant to relive their traumatic experience for the purposes of a major motion picture? Not in the slightest. “We weren’t reluctant at all—it was actually kind of the opposite,” Sadler said. “We immediately said yes.”

If the three were reluctant about anything, it was acting well. “It’s our story and we didn’t want to misrepresent it by non-acting for the first time and maybe risk the picture,” said Sadler. “[Eastwood] kept reassuring us that all we had to do was do what we did and he would take care of the rest.”



“Initially seeing [El-Khazzani]” was, by far and away, the scariest moment for Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone during the IRL train heist. “You hear the commotion, […] the first thing we see is a shirtless terrorist picking up [an] AK-47 and he’s cocking it,” said Sadler. “We’ve all seen enough movies or handled firearms [enough] to know that the next thing is he’s shooting.”

The story of the 15:17 train is terrifying, but terrorist attacks are also increasingly common. “The movie is horribly relevant right now, which is kind of sad to say,” said Stone. “That’s the world we live in and that’s one of the things we hope to change.”


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