Clint Eastwood’s Latest Film “The 15:17 to Paris” Casts the Actual Heroes

Clint Eastwood is not afraid of change, even in the twilight of a tremendously successful career. He evolved from a TV cowboy to the film cowboy with no name in a series of ‘spaghetti Westerns,’ which have been heralded over the years. He then broke free, ditched the dust and spurs and became the man with the big gun in a series of Dirty Harry films. His clout in Hollywood increased, such that he was able to take firmer control of his work, from directing all the way to composing the music.

Eastwood would occasionally get in front of the camera, his face growing ever more rugged and iconic. His exploration of heroic activity was always shimmering just below the surface, and with his latest work it is front and center. Based on a true story, The 15:17 to Paris presents three men who confront and subdue a terrorist on the eponymous French train.

In a bold casting stroke that is more ambitious than flawed, Eastwood’s film stars the three real men playing themselves: Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone. Each do a credible job bringing us into their decision making process to engage, but occasionally their lack of experience takes us out of the film. Nonetheless, several other cast members keep the film on the rails, so to speak: Jenna Fischer, Ray Corasani, PJ Byrne, Judy Greer,  Tony Hale, and Thomas Lennon. Eastwood’s usual tight production style provides a tautness not seen enough in other films. Look for his Pale Rider image on a character’s T-shirt, a nice nod to his dusty heroic cowboy past

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.