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12 Strong Depicts the Battle to Defeat Terror - Living Out Loud Los Angeles - Living Out Loud Los Angeles

12 Strong Depicts the Battle to Defeat Terror

Chris Hemsworth as Captain Mitch Nelson in 12 Strong

Chris Hemsworth as Captain Mitch Nelson in 12 Strong

Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing the morning that changed history forever, Sept. 11, 2001. No matter how many years go by, the emotions of that day are still palpable, and the aftermath is seen daily.

Now, audiences will be able to see the U.S. Army’s Special Air Forces’ covert incursion into Taliban held Afghanistan in the film 12 Strong. The powerful war drama from Alcon Entertainment, Black Label Media and Jerry Bruckheimer Films revolves around the first 12 American soldiers who volunteered for the mission, just days after the terror attack.

Directed by Nicolai Fuglsig and produced by the legendary Jerry Bruckheimer (Black Hawk Down), the film is based on the acclaimed book Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton with a screenplay written by Oscar winner Ted Tally (The Silence of the Lambs) and Peter Craig (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Parts 1 & 2).

Led by their captain, Mitch Nelson, played by Chris Hemsworth (Thor), the brave members of the Green Berets took on the classified mission, codenamed Task Force Dagger, to strike the first blow in response to the attacks. Leaving behind their families and facing the constant threat of danger, the men put their lives on the line for what they believed in and fought the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies.

The 12 Strong are played by Hemsworth, Oscar nominee Michael Shannon, Michael Peña (The Martian, Ant-Man), Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight), Geoff Stults (Only the Brave), Thad Luckinbill (Only the Brave), Austin Stowell (Bridge of Spies), Ben O’Toole (Hacksaw Ridge), Austin Hébert (Jack Reacher: Never Go Back), Kenneth Miller (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot), Kenny Sheard (13 Hours) and Jack Kesy (“The Strain”). 

Special Forces Major Mark Nutsch inspired Hemsworth’s character.

It’s to be noted all but a few names of the ODA-595 team had been changed in Horse Soldiers to protect the soldiers’ identities on what was an ongoing classified mission at the time it was written. Those fictional names were also used in the film.

Nutsch, ODA-595 Special Forces Captain and detachment commander on the mission, and his assistant detachment commander and Chief Warrant Officer Bob Pennington (Chief Warrant Officer, Cal Spencer in the film, played by Shannon) were able to briefly interact with the actors to help provide insight on what things were truly like for them.

For Officer Bob Pennington, he says the first time he watched the film he was highly critical, however the second time around, he enjoyed the cinematography and the way the team was depicted.

Special Forces Major Mark Nutsch says, “They got it right. They got the action.”

“They clearly portrayed the spirit of the Special Forces Team in that post 9/11 historical moment for our country and historical period for the Special Forces and C.I.A. teaming together to work with local Afghan partners that were around before 9/11 and were already in a battle with Al Qaeda and the Taliban who had hijacked their country,” Major Nutsch explains.

Officer Pennington also commended their depiction of the Taliban as being completely accurate.

“Let me tell you, that was spot on because they are ruthless. They are absolutely mean. They just don’t give a crap, and they’re out there to kill you no matter what,” he says.

For Officer Pennington, he says the mission was one of the best things he did in his entire military career.

While for many, the film is another war drama, it’s in fact so much more than that. It’s the tale of brave men and women who sacrificed everything.

Major Nutsch says he believes the film will “help shed some light on the real people, the real events and the incredible things that our Special Operation Forces did right after 9/11.”

12 Strong hits theaters Jan. 19 and will surely give viewers a new appreciation for their freedom and for the men and women who made it possible.

Marvin Vasquez contributed to this story.

Sylvia Aparicio is a Staff Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering lifestyle and entertainment.

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