10 Reveals From Our '12 Strong' Set Visitby IMDb-Editors | last updated - 6 months ago
On a hillside in Albuquerque, N.M., that was staged to look like the mountains of Afghanistan, Chris Hemsworth and his 12 Strong co-stars revealed some behind-the-scenes details about their war drama. — Arno Kazarian
Structurally, 12 Strong is an old-school war movie set in the wake of 9/11
The story of 12 Strong centers on a team of U.S. Special Forces troops who were the first people sent to Afghanistan after the World Trade Center tragedy. Situated in the country's mountain terrain, the troops forego relying on state-of-the-art warfare and instead enter into a shaky alliance with Afghani horse soldiers on a mission to take down branches of the Taliban army and their al-Qaida allies. As a viewer, prepare more for horses and rifles instead of drones and missiles. The best-selling book "Horse Soldiers" by Doug Stanton serves as the movie's source material.
Chris Hemsworth plays real-life soldier Capt. Mitch Nelson
In Afghanistan, Nelson, a specialist in "unconventional warfare," soon found himself allied with Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, who oversaw the 1,500-member Northern Alliance cavalry. The Green Beret became famous in war circles for responding to an impatient senior officer's request for a mission update with the statement: "I am advising a man on how to best employ light infantry and horse cavalry in the attack against Taliban T-55s [tanks], mortars, artillery, personnel carriers and machine guns — a tactic which I think became outdated with the invention of the Gatling gun.”
Hemsworth was quite hesitant to take the role
Offered the part while he was in the middle of filming Thor: Ragnarok, Hemsworth was reluctant at first to take another physically demanding role that would also keep him away from his family for several months. To sweeten the deal, Hemsworth's wife, Elsa Pataky, was offered the role of his on-screen spouse, which enabled the couple to be together for roughly a two-week period during production.
The project shifted studios twice
Jerry Bruckheimer originally set up the project at Disney in 2009, right before Doug Stanton's book was published in May of that year. Soon after, the studio stopped making movies that weren't 100% family friendly, and Bruckheimer re-pitched the project to Lionsgate in 2016, though it wound up on the Warner Bros. lot in early 2017.
There's a Black Hawk Down connection
Aside from sharing a producer in Bruckheimer, 12 Strong has a physical link to Black Hawk Down (as well as Enemy of State and even Iron Man). Hemsworth and company were trained by Harry Humphries, a former Navy SEAL who now works as a military/technical consultant in Hollywood. Dude's resume is beyond impressive.
Director Nicolai Fuglsig: Real-World Hero
Bruckheimer on why Nicolai Fuglsig was the right choice to direct the picture: "Well, he’s an adventurer. But he went into Haiti right after the earthquake, and he had a friend who was stranded on a rooftop, and he rented a helicopter and rescued him, because no one else was going to. And he was a tank commander too, and a war photographer."
Classic films have been an influence
From production designer Christopher Glass: "In a lot of the shots we’re going on an epic scale ... the sequences in Lawrence of Arabia when they’re bombing the trains kind of comes to mind, when they’re on horseback and they blow out the rails and then they flee. I mean there is some Braveheart in this — I guess that is an old movie now [laughs]."
Trevante Rhodes: Scene Stealer?
After a chat with the Moonlight knockout, it became clear that his character's relationship with an Afghani youth could be the emotional center of the story. Rhodes plays Milo, and he describes his character as "fourth in line" amongst the troops, and he's also "the weapons guy."
Two members of the MCU met for the first time on set
Hard to believe that Thor had never met Luis, Scott Lang's former cellmate, in real life, but it's true that Chris Hemsworth officially met Michael Peña while they were in training for the movie.
There's an extra-special Silence of the Lambs connection
Ted Tally, seen here in the center with his Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for The Silence of the Lambs, took first crack at the adaptation — his first screenwriting credit in 16 years. He shares the credit will Peter Craig, who co-wrote The Town with Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard.