- Created: Wednesday, 18 October 2017 15:24
- Published: Thursday, 19 October 2017 16:37
- Written by Lupe Rodriguez Haas
Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Taylor Kitsch, Jeff Bridges and James Badge Dale are not just playing characters in another Hollywood movie. The stars of ONLY THE BRAVE portray real-life heroes who sacrificed their lives for the greater good. The actors and real-life firefighters talk about their experience in bringing the story of the brave men, women and their families to the big screen. Watch the full interview below.
Based on the true and sad story behind the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of elite firefighters from Prescott, Arizona risk their lives to save a town from a historic wildfire.
ONLY THE BRAVE is not an action movie, but a story of the camaraderie and brotherhood of a unit of firefighters as they head out to fight fire with fire. Hotshots do not put out fires like most firefighters but set fires to burn out any fuel that might propel the blaze from spreading to nearby towns and homes.
At a recent Los Angeles press conference, Brolin, Teller, Connelly, Kitsch, Bridges, Dale, director Joseph Kosinski, and real-life Hotshots Brendan McDonough and Pat McCarty reveal how they went about telling the story and the rigorous training the actors went through to bring a realistic portrayal to these real-life heroes.
The cast fully immersed themselves in training to be Hotshots. A former Granite Mountain Hotshot, Pat McCarty reveals he trained the actors to carry 45 pound backpacks with gear and a heavy chainsaws hiking through extreme 100 degree temperatures in New Mexico. They spent a night in the dirt with no tents under the stars. They suffered through blisters and heat, but he didn’t hear a complaint from the actors.
However that wasn’t the most important part. “When you’re grinding through those days, it just comes back to the brotherhood,” says McCarty, and the actors experienced their own form of bonding like the real-life group.
Miles Teller admits he didn’t know what he was signing up for.
“I think I underestimated the physical aspect of the job," says the star. "I knew it was going to be tough but I wasn't versed on hot shot training before I showed up other than videos. It was tough man!”
Teller reveals Brolin like his character in the movie was their leader who helped out the actors acclimate to the high altitude especially in Santa Fe which is 7,500 to 10,000 feet above sea level. Teller describes it as a “kick in the gut” but Brolin who has training as a firefighter guided them on how to handle it by giving them chlorophyll. Teller says it was a “wonderful experience” creating a bond with his fellow actors in those circumstances. “Nothing brings you closer together than collective suffering.”
Brolin adds his time with his fellow actors and crew is one of the “most communal experiences” he’s ever had in the 50 or so films he’s worked on.
“Playing Cable is fun but this is something different and it becomes very personal, says the 49-year-old actor. “It was very emotional for everybody.”
Taylor Kitsch who plays Christopher MacKenzie, also felt a bond with his cast after the production for ONLY THE BRAVE.
“It’s a responsibility that I think all of us just absolutely loved and we're honored by it, says the 36-year-old. I think that's where that communal comes in where everyone goes through their own fear.”
From the director’s chair Joseph Kosinski also wanted to bring authenticity to ONLY THE BRAVE. Most of the action was captured in camera which meant the actors really had to stand next to fire. One actor injects saying it was “hot” and the director reveals Brolin’s backpack melted in one of the scenes where he’s standing next to a blaze.
The actors may have gone through some physical hell, but they all concur the experience working on ONLY THE BRAVE and bringing these real-life heroes to light is the most satisfying role to date.
ONLY THE BRAVE opens October 20 in movie theaters.