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In 'The 15:17 To Paris,' 3 'Ordinary Guys' Relive The Train Attack They Thwarted

Alek Skarlatos (left), Anthony Sadler (middle) and Spencer Stone in a still from "The 15:17 to Paris." (Keith Bernstein/Warner Bros. Entertainment)
Alek Skarlatos (left), Anthony Sadler (middle) and Spencer Stone in a still from "The 15:17 to Paris." (Keith Bernstein/Warner Bros. Entertainment)

In August 2015, Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone helped thwart a terrorist attack on a high-speed train bound for Paris. They now play themselves in a new Clint Eastwood film about the incident, “The 15:17 to Paris.”

The film follows the three men growing up together, going their separate ways as adults and then reuniting on vacation in Europe.

Sadler, Skarlatos ( @alekskarlatos) and Stone were praised for their role in subduing a terrorist on a train from Amsterdam to Paris, who was armed with an assault rifle, a knife and over 200 rounds of ammunition.

“It was just kind of a surreal experience doing it all again with the same people, especially the only person that didn’t [act in the film] really was the terrorist,” Skarlatos tells Here & Now‘s Robin Young.


Interview Highlights

On the theme of inevitability in the film

Anthony Sadler: “It’s kind of been the story of our relationship in general. We all went to our different paths in life — I was in college and these two decided to join the military — so I mean that’s just the nature of our story. And I think it just represents the journey that life has us on. You don’t necessarily always get to do it with best friends, but our lives up until then were leading up to that moment for sure.”

On the film’s portrayal of Spencer as someone who’s always ready to defend

Spencer Stone:  “I don’t like to take no crap, but I mean at the end of the day, even on the train and real life, I don’t think me, Alek or Anthony would have been able to live with ourselves if we went in the other direction. Maybe even say we jumped off the train somehow and survived, we would have found out later hundreds of people were dead, and we had a moment to do something and we passed it up. I don’t think that’s something we could have lived with for the rest of our lives.”

On re-creating their quick reactions in the moment

Alek Skarlatos:  “It was definitely strange, and of course not being actors probably was a little bit tougher than normal. But at the same time, doing it again with Mr. Eastwood, he took such lengths and effort to make sure everything was exactly the same the day of that it made it really easy for us to kind of get back in that mindset that we were on the day of the train because I mean, we were wearing the same clothes. It was the same train. We had some of the same passengers, so it was very easy for us to feel the same emotions and do the same things that we did that day.”

On how the film encourages others to act

SS: “I think that’s kind of the moral of our story is that we’re just three ordinary guys that were put into a crazy situation. And I think it proves that anyone is capable of the extraordinary. But at the same token I’m not saying that you should run into a man with a loaded AK-47, you know, every situation is different, but you can always do something. You can call the cops. You can rush people away or even just the smallest things. As long as you’re doing something to contribute, I think the world would be a better place.”

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