“19 Men attacked our country. The 12 of you will be the first ones to fight back.”
Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon and Michael Pena star in this gripping true story of the first U.S. Army Special Forces’ covert mission into Taliban-held Afghanistan just days after the 9/11 attacks. The movie is based on the 2009 best selling book Horse Soldiers written by Doug Stanton. Hemsworth stars as Captain Mitch Nelson who leads his special forces unit into Afghanistan where he attempts to convince local warlord General Abdul Rashid Dostum (Played by Navid Negahban) to fight alongside him to stop their common enemy, the Taliban and Al Qaeda allies. Although initial distrust and a cultural divide between General Dostum and Captain Nelson potentially jeopardize their goal of overthrowing Al Qaeda cells in Afghanistan, the two form a strong bond and learn to work side by side.
Nuke The Fridge was invited to the press event for 12 Strong where director Nicolai Fuglsig, Chris Hemsworth, Trevante Rhodes and Horse Soldiers author Doug Stanton were present.
Chris Hemsworth: “What I loved about this story was it was a chance to show Americans working side-by-side with the Afghan people to fight a common enemy”
I asked Horse Soldiers author Doug Stanton how he discovered the story of these heroic soldiers who went into Afghanistan shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Robert Garcia: Hi Doug, how did you discover the classified mission of the 12 soldiers who deployed to Afghanistan just days after the 9/11 attacks.
Doug Stanton: Well, I came across a Newsweek piece written by Alex Perry and it’s kind of a long answer but I read that these guys were in a big battle (In Afghanistan) and I wanted to know how did these guys get there, why were they there? So I called the press affairs office in New York, for the Army and they sent me to Fort Bragg and they sent me to another location and ultimately I had a hard time obtaining information. So in regards to the classified story, they (U.S. Army) told me “You can write this, no one has written a book on the Green Berets in a very long time.” It was tough because there was no record published of this incident. So what I was interested in was I wanted to know what it felt like to deal with having to leave their families. You know there’s a line in the movie where Michael Shannon’s character says “How do you love your family and leave them to go to war?” I wanted to approach the story as a human drama. So when I reached out and spoke to the actual guys who were involved they were open to talking to me.
This is the first feature film from director Nicolai Fuglsig who cut his teeth photographing footage from the Kosovo War which later went on to become a 15 minute documentary titled Return of the Exiled. Fuglsig does an outstanding job presenting viewers with the realities of war in 12 Strong. The film thrusts viewers right into enemy lines leaving little room for character development in regards to the soldiers home life. It doesn’t detract from the movie but rather shifts its focus to the development between Hemsworth’s and Negahban’s characters which is what the core of the movie is. 12 Strong really is a fitting story detailing the camaraderie, heroism, and friendship between unlikely allies seeking a greater good.
Written By: Ted Tally and Peter Craig
Directed By: Nicolai Fuglsig
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Peña, Navid Negahban and Trevante Rhodes
Release Date: January 19, 2018