With a giant flag suspended from the top of two fire engines, country music blaring, and a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter circling low overhead, the premiere of “Only the Brave” at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles was a patriotic affair.
The Columbia Pictures drama centers around the tragic true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite team of firefighters specially trained to deal with wildfires, who lost 19 of their crew in the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona.
The film’s stars, including Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, and Jennifer Connelly, were present on Sunday night, as well as 100 first responders from stations across California, and many of the families of the real-life Hotshots.
“A big reason I wanted to make this film was because these guys work behind the scenes, never looking for credit, and what they do is so important,” said the film’s director, Joseph Kosinski, after he’d made a speech thanking the cast and the families for lending their support to the project. “We’re not just talking about making a film, we’re talking about the legacy of these firefighters. The children of some of these guys are going to watch the film some day, so we wanted to represent them in as authentic a way as possible.”
Teller, who plays Brendan McDonough, the only Hotshot who survived the fire, said the fact that he didn’t hear about the natural disaster at the time shows the media’s propensity to focusing on celebrity gossip.
“You can turn on a channel and hear about so and so’s divorce, but the Hotshots are important, these are Americans, and I take a lot of pride in that, and it’s not political,” Teller said. “It’s about the guy to the left and the right of you saying we’re all in this together, which we are.”
“Only the Brave,” which was co-written by “Black Hawk Down” scribe Ken Nolan and “American Hustle” co-writer Eric Warren Singer, hits theaters on Oct. 20.