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’15:17 to Paris’ Heroes on Starring in Film: ‘It Really Did Feel Like You Were There Again’

“I thought he was joking,” Anthony Sadler recalled when Clint Eastwood proposed to him, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone that they star as themselves in the film adaptation of their experiences foiling the attempted 2015 Thalys train attack. Yet there they all were at Warner Bros. Studios on Monday night for the world premiere of “The 15:17 to Paris,” walking the red carpet and soaking up all their hard-earned spotlight.

The film, adapted from the book written by the three friends, made waves back in July when it was announced that, after a long search, Eastwood had decided to cast the heroes as themselves in his latest film. According to the trio, it was Eastwood’s attention to detail that allowed them to act freely in front of the camera.

“It was surreal just because they did such a good job of making everything so accurate,” Skarlatos said. “It really did feel like you were there again and it helped us act and do it again in a way, but it wasn’t like a negative experience at all. It really was just a lot of fun doing it with your two best friends and Mr. Eastwood.”

Eastwood attracted a lot of attention on the carpet when he made his arrival, as did surprise guest Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sadler, Skarlatos, and Stone made sure they also gave kudos to the director in all their group interviews.

“He’s been the star of stars for 50 years — nobody else can say they’re A-list like that,” Sadler said, adding, “and he got down on our level, having no experience in the industry before.”

After the screening, stars of the film like Jenna Fischer, as well as actors Tony Hale and Scott Eastwood, were treated to a meal under the stars at the Warner Bros. water tower, in the courtyard next to the Steven J. Ross Theater.

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