In an unconventional move, Clint Eastwood has tapped Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone to play themselves in his next movie, “The 15:17 to Paris.” The film will tell the story of the three Americans who stopped a terrorist on a train bound for Paris.
Jenna Fischer, Judy Greer, and Ray Corasani will also join the real-life heroes in the film. Paul-Mikel Williams, Max Ivutin, Bryce Gheisar, Cole Eichenberger, and William Jennings will play younger versions of the Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone.
The casting move is similar to Eastwood’s “Gran Torino,” which featured an almost-unknown cast outside of Eastwood, who also starred in the movie.
Following the news that this would be his follow-up to the box office hit “Sully,” Eastwood began a wide-ranging search for the actors who would portray the three Americans. The studio and Eastwood made their choices but at the 11th hour decided to have Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone portray themselves.
Sources say that, while the three will have good-sized roles, the film is expected to begin during their childhood and show their friendship leading up to the moment that changed their lives. That means the roles will not be full-on leads.
The film is based on the book of the same name by Sadler, Skarlatos, Stone and Jeffrey E. Stern; and Bruce Berman to exec produce. Dorothy Blyskal will write the script.
Eastwood will produce with Tim Moore, Kristina Rivera and Jessica Meier. Warner Bros. will distribute, as will Village Roadshow Pictures (who will also co-finance) in select territories.
The film falls in line with Eastwood’s recent interest in real-life heroes following “American Sniper” and “Sully,” which were two of his biggest box office hits.
Eastwood has met with actors for the past month since deciding the film would be his follow-up to “Sully.” Before landing on “The 15:17 to Paris,” Eastwood was weighing a handful of movies including “Impossible Odds,” the story of humanitarian worker Jessica Buchanan, who was kidnapped while working in Somalia and later rescued by a group of Navy SEALs.