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Set Visit: Everything you need to know about 12 Strong

10.19.2017

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT 12 STRONG

When thinking about modern war dramas, especially any set in the Middle East or Africa, the movies that come to mind are BLACK HAWK DOWN, JARHEAD, LONE SURVIVOR, AMERICAN SNIPER, etc. When walking onto the set of 12 STRONG (based on the book "Horse Soldiers" by Doug Stanton), scenes from those same movies barreled through my mind: The sand, the uniforms, and the weaponry all make for a visual of a truly great, modern war film. However, something about it all just felt different. I couldn’t pinpoint it...until I stepped in its shit.

That’s right; the horses. The epic image of seeing rebel soldiers charging down a hill brandishing AK-47’s was a surreal experience I hope other people have a chance to witness someday...unless that is you're on the receiving end of their charge. Normally this is a scene meant for swords and shields, or at least muskets and Enfield rifles (which also were used in this movie). But the story of American soldiers who had to adapt to the fighting style of the Northern Alliance compatriots is ripe for a film that meshes the new school of war movies and the old-school war epics from past. Though this battle was confined to the filming location on the hillside of a New Mexican suburb (fit with a neighborhood and Wal-Mart within sight), the scope director Nicolai Fuglsig is filling his scenes with is nothing short of jaw-dropping.

But battle scenes aside, there is a message of unity underneath the camo and testosterone. The story takes place at a time when anti-Muslim tensions were at a high in America, with fear and hatred permeating through a desire to see those responsible for 9/11 brought to justice. Little did we know, there were many people in Afghanistan - like the Northern Alliance - who were suffering the same kind of hostility from the Taliban, and even to a worse extent, in fact. This mission proved that cultural boundaries can be crossed to do something great, and showed that though we’re worlds apart we’re not all that different.

  • The story follows a group of Special Forces operatives who were dropped into Afghanistan weeks after 9/11 to work with a rebel band, known as the Northern Alliance, who were fighting the Taliban out of Afghanistan. America had no idea how to fight in the region at this time, so the soldiers had to utilize Afghani techniques of fighting, including riding into battle on horseback, which is where the book it’s based on got its name.
  • Chris Hemsworth stars as Captain Mitch Nelson, who led the team.
  • Second in command is Chief Warrant Officer Cal Spencer, played by Michael Shannon.
  • Third in line is Sergeant First Class Sam Diller, played by Michael Pena.
  • Trevante Rhodes (MOONLIGHT and THE PREDATOR) plays Sergeant First Class Ben Milo.
  • Navid Negahban (HOMELAND) plays Abdul Rashid Dostum, who was the leader of the Alliance and is now vice president of Iran.
  • FAST AND FURIOUS actress and Hemsworth’s wife, Elsa Pataky, is playing Nelson's wife in the movie.
  • This movie shot all over New Mexico, including on White Sands Missile Range, which trains many of our Special Forces units given its similarity in look to Afghanistan.
  • This is the third big-budget film as production designer for Christopher Glass (who spent years as a storyboard artist), with his prior movies being Jon Favreau’s THE JUNGLE BOOK and THE DARK TOWER.
  • This is the first feature-length film of commercial director Nicolai Fuglsig, and Jerry Bruckheimer is producing.
  • Ted Tally (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS) and Peter Craig (HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY) wrote the script
  • Mic Rodgers, the second unit director and stunt coordinator on BRAVEHEART, is doing the stunt coordination for the film.
  • Bill Corso, Oscar-winning makeup designer of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, DEADPOOL and countless other films is doing the makeup, and was on-hand during the battle sequence we saw (and he was wearing an episode VII jacket!!)
  • The production team tried to stay as authentic to the story as possible, using real tanks provided by White Sands Missile Range, which were obtained in Afghanistan (of Russian make).  The aircraft, including Black Hawks and Chinooks, were given and flown in by the 170th SOAR.
  • Glass talked about movies like LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, BRAVEHEART and THE LAST SAMURAI as movies that came to mind when they were making STRONG.
  • Some of the actors, like Fahim Fazli, have spent time in the region and acted as interpreters for American forces in the past.
  • There is a desire to show the bond between the two cultures with this movie, with the hope that in the process audiences can see Americans and the people of Afghanistan are fighting a common enemy.
  • There was a desire while getting the movie made to tell a relatively unknown story (to those not familiar with the book) about Special Forces men, who don’t often get to have their stories told on the big screen, as studios often make movies about U.S. Marines or NAVY Seals.
  • The Battle of Bescham involves B52 bombings, horse charges, and on-the-ground fighting from the cast – with all that stuff often going on at once.
  • The rest of the cast is fleshed out by Rob Riggle, William FichtnerGeoff Stults, Thad Luckinbill, Austin Stowell, Ben O’Toole, Austin Hebert, Kenneth Miller, Kenny Sheard, Jack Kesy, Laith Nakli, Fahim Fazli, and Yousuf Azami.

Check out our interviews with Jerry Bruckheimer and the cast of the movie!

12 STRONG rides into theaters January 19, 2018.

Source: JoBlo.com

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