The stars and producer of "12 Strong," a new film about the first U.S. Special Forces who went to Afghanistan after 9/11 and rode into battle on horseback, talked about meeting the real-life heroes and wanting to do justice to their inspiring story.
"What stood out to me was the brotherhood between these guys," Hemsworth said. "They had to link up with the local Afghan people and fight alongside them on horseback. And the brotherhood they held, to this day the friendships are held. The selflessness, the absolute commitment -- There's such an authenticity and humility to that which all of us found incredibly inspiring and I'm thankful for."
Michael Pena said "12 Strong" is "a movie about the American Dream and people fighting for it. This was more about the story than it was about one individual."
Jerry Bruckheimer, who has produced other war films including "Black Hawk Down" and "Pearl Harbor," said it was important to "pay back" the men behind this story.
"This was a payback. This was the first men that put their feet on the ground ... They went in there meeting up with a warlord they knew nothing about; they had $100,000 bounties on their head just for their bloody uniforms," Bruckheimer explained. "These soldiers are diplomats. They went in there not as heroes, [but] just doing their job. Three weeks they drove the Taliban out," the producer added.
Nutsch, the real-life leader of the 12-man U.S. Special Forces team, said Bruckheimer and the cast successfully captured the spirit of the soldiers.
"We think they got it, they got the spirit of the Special Forces team in the post-9/11 moment in American history,"
Nutsch brought a piece of the Twin Towers to the set before filming began to help inspire the cast. "The day before we first started shooting -- Mark brought the piece of the Twin Towers for us and everybody just sat there and looked at each other, and we were like, 'Let's go make this movie,'" Rhodes said.
Hemsworth said that after meeting the military men in person the cast wanted to “do the story justice” and make them "proud of our portrayal."
“[It] is a huge honor and one that certainly carried a weight ... moreso than anything else I have been a part of," Hemsworth said.
"12 Strong" hits theaters nationwide Jan. 19.