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How accurate is 'The 15:17 To Paris'?

Clint Eastwood’s drama stars Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos as themselves
How accurate is The 15:17 To Paris?
[Image: Warner Bros]

Whenever a true story is brought to the big-screen by Hollywood you can’t help but worry that it is going to be mishandled or adjusted in some obscene way.

Clint Eastwood seemingly found the best way to get around such concerns on “The 15:17 To Paris,” though, by casting Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos, the three heroes that thwarted the terrorist attack in France back in August, 2015, as Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos.

That’s despite the fact that none of them had any acting experience whatsoever.

Earlier this week I had the chance to talk to the trio over the phone ahead of the release of “The 15:17 To Paris,” during which time I asked whether their true story was altered in any way for the big-screen.

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“It wasn’t at all,” insisted Skarlatos “If anything they had to shorten it. But they didn’t add anything. That was the cool thing about having Mr Eastwood do it. He just wanted to keep it accurate. And if nothing else this film is very accurate.”

Sadler then insisted that Eastwood looked to keep the film completely accurate by including the trio in its development from the “very beginning.”

“Right away Clint insisted that we were a part of the story and that if anything doesn’t sound right just let us know. That was right from the script, so we were editing that, as well as just consulting him.”

“Then, with us playing ourselves, that made it very easy for us to say something because we were right there. Plus, Clint made it very comfortable to do just that, and he was eager for us to do it, too. Because he didn’t want to Hollywood it up and neither did we. He thought that accuracy was good enough, and so did we.”

The trio admitted that, from time to time, they turned to Eastwood for some acting tips, but the only advice he ever gave them was to “just be natural and do it as it happened.”

Stone recalled, “Even when he asked us to be in the film, and we then asked about acting lessons, he said, ‘No, you don’t want to do that. I just want you guys to be yourselves and not get in your head too much. Because then it will look like acting’.”

“Then on set it was always just, ‘Do it as it happened, and I will get the rest of it.’ He would come and give us tips here and there, but he would never sit us down and talk us through an entire scene. He would just come up to us, say one thing, and then return to the monitor."

“The 15:17 To Paris” is now in cinemas.