Behind the real-life events that inspired 'The Long Road Home'

Michael Kelly, Eric Bourquin, and Gina Denomy discuss the real-life events that inspired the new miniseries, "The Long Road Home," based on Martha Raddatz's best-selling book.
7:51 | 10/22/17

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Behind the real-life events that inspired 'The Long Road Home'
This week, much has been said of the sacrifices and bonds shared by soldiers. Something I have had the privilege of witnessing up close over year of reporting on America's wars. At the outset of the conflict in Iraq, I had the honor of getting to know one unit in particular. I wrote about their experience in a book called "The long road home." Now being made into an eight-part miniseries. Almost undescribable. Probably the loudest thing I have ever heard. Reporter: April 4,2004, a ferocious battle in what was supposed to be a peace keeping mission. 19 soldiers, ambushed. Pinned down in an alley in a slum of sadr city, Baghdad. Unprotected. Exposed. Facing masses of armed insurgents. Some guys have seen some things that no one ever wants to see. Reporter: In the wake of the ambush, dozens wounded. Eight dead. You go to a veteran's ceremony, and you see the old veterans get together and hug and cry and you never really understood it. I understand it now. Reporter: 13 years later, we return to a different sadr city. This time, in Texas. These should be basic lay match to the real buildings right here. Reporter: These painstaking reproductions erected at ft. Hood for the national geographic miniseries, "The long road home." Come on, baby. Reporter: It's the story of the battle. Heart-pumping action. And the story of the heartbreak of the families left behind. I love you. I love you. Reporter: Actress Kate bosworth is playing Gina denomy. Wife of Troy. One wounded in the battle. We met her shortly afterwards. It's such an unbelievable fear of not knowing who is hurt. Who is no longer with us. Reporter: That pain is all too real again for the families who lost their loved ones in the battle now visiting the set. Just feeling that emotion. Reporter: Painful for the widows and for the soldiers reliving those moments with the actors who play them. Is there moments that you have, maybe if I turn to the left opposed to the right? No, though. The guilt is that I didn't get shot. They did. Reporter: It's a responsibility for all the actors to get it right. We wanted to the men who did this in real life -- the justice that they deserve. Um -- so, I think that part is really special. Reporter: The actor Michael Kelly from "House of cards" is portraying then lieutenant colonel Gary valesky. New a three-star general. Perfectly capturing the heart and care all those years ago. Uncommon valor was common that day. There were soldiers doing things we talk about. But you don't teach stuff like that. They all just performed magnificently. I'm honored to be able to serve with soldiers like that. Reporter: And joining me now, actor Michael Kelly, retired army sar yet first class, Eric Bourquin, and Gina den gnodenomy, whouz husband was injured. Eric, you were 23 years old when you were trapped on the roof. 13 years later, sit hard to relive it? Initial lirks it was. It's been such a great experience to go through this and expose myself and learn so much about it throughout all my time on the set. And being able to see this. So, it was hard going through it. But it's been very, very he helpful. Reporter: You were a technical adviser. You were there every day. Yes, ma'am. I was there on set quite a bit. I was responsible to make sure everything was as authentic as it could be. Gina, you think back on that day. You aren't changed a bit since the early interview. Troy left for Iraq thinking it was a peacekeeping mission. Three, four days after your son, Merrick was born. Correct. When you look back on that day, what do you remember? Oh, there were so many emotions. You know, obviously, the fear of the unknown and concern for the guys going over there. But also having this newborn baby and thinking, wow, okay, this belongs to him as much as me and I've got to get this right for a whole year by myself and do it right. And I remember just thinking, this is -- this is going to be a long year. And trying to -- at the same time, keep spirits up to send him off the best way possible. And Gina, that day, the day of the battle when you -- fewer than 1% of our nation serve. We have heard John Kelly talk about in this week. People really don't understand what that's like. After this battle, they fought for 80 straight days. What sit like knowing eight soldiers died that day. Troy obviously survived. What don't we understand about notificatio notifications? Wow. Um -- the -- it's a very scary thing to think about someone showing up at your door with that kind of news. And being part of the care team, we went through some training of, to go in after they're notified to lend support and help to the families. And it's a training you go through. But it's something you never want to actually have to use. And, it's -- it's hard thing. Because there is never the right words to use. So, and then, the the notification system -- it's -- it's put in place in way to protect the families as much as possible. But there's always the issue of people wants to know things as soon as possible. But they have to be notified through the correct channels. I know you told me recently that after that day, whenever you would leave and leave out the back door to your car, what did you do? Well, so whenever, the way our house was in Texas, the access to the garage was to the back from the street behind the house. When I would go there, on my return, I would drive around the front of the house, first, to make sure there wasn't a car waiting. Pretty serious stuff. Tough. Michael, you have taken on the role of one of the heroes of this battle, dparry valeski. I know you met him well into the shooting. Why -- why was this so important for you to do? I know you're the son of marine. But you're a busy guy. Yeah. Well, after I was offered the role, I sat down that night and I read four of the scripts. And as I'm reading it, I couldn't stop reading it. Rifling through it. I was like this is incredible. I started to -- and wasn't working out in my schedule so well to do the project. I was like, let me goog this will Gary valeski guy. I saw some interviews you had done with him. It was the things he said, the way he spoke about his wife, that she was the true hero. Much like hearing what Gina goes through and all the women at home. I gotta play this guy. I've gotta -- if they think I'm the right guy for this role, then I've got to do it the best justice I can do. Here's a man who, still to this day, as a three-star general is, you know, puts his life on the line for us. For me to be able to do the fun things that I get to do in my life, to be an actor, um, and to have the free comes to that I enjoy. So I was like, I gotta get this right. I gotta do everything I can to do this man the justice that he deserves. I was struck and still and, and all of us have a bond. By the bond you created, you had with the real -- with an Eric Bourquin. A young kt actor named John believers played Eric. Eric has those tattoos. That is make up on John beaver. It's been a powerful bond, hasn't it? It has been. I've been fortunate enough to along this journey, I have come along and made quite a few friends. It's been special to be able to see that the American public and the people outside the military community actually care enough about just like Michael was saying. You know, how important it is to get the stories out there. Because this story in particular, is a human story. It's about love. It affects all of us. Anybody can identify with any aspect of the show, regardless of the side or military service they were in. Michael, you went through about three weeks of basic training. Learned a lot about things? Nothing like what these guys go through. I did learn a lot. And that was another part that was really important for all of the actors. And, you know, John beavers, who plays mark. We took it so serious. We wanted everything to be as real as we could make it. Because, again, just wanting to do these men the justice they deserved. And so we, we worked hard, man. It -- like I said, nothing like the real thing. But we learned how to clear buildings. In groups of one, two, and four. Eight. And we just wanted to make it right. I love when some of the the real soldiers in the battle first saw you and thought, I don't know. I don't know if this guy is going to make it. Eric was introducing me to a couple of, at the kickoff party that you had for us. And it was the first time meeting a lot of these guys. A lot of the soldiers were fortunate enough to meet their guys before I did. So it was my first introduction meeting the the guys. I go into this bar, they're like, hey, guys. This is Michael Kelly. He's playing Gary valesky. They're like, oh, really? Good luck, buddy. They were dead serious. I was like, guys, this is hard enough, man. Playing a legend. Playing a legend. Gary is on a pedestal here. To have to play someone that these men, to this day, would follow into hell. Every one of them has said it to me. They're like, I would follow that man into hell. And to take that on as an actor is scary. I was so scared spp. Well, I will Sarks I'm not a film critic. But you do a magnificent job. You captured Gary and everybody like him so beautifully. Thank you, Gina. The show premiers on national agree graphic on November 7th.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"7:51","description":"Michael Kelly, Eric Bourquin, and Gina Denomy discuss the real-life events that inspired the new miniseries, \"The Long Road Home,\" based on Martha Raddatz's best-selling book. ","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/ThisWeek","id":"50642375","title":"Behind the real-life events that inspired 'The Long Road Home'","url":"/ThisWeek/video/real-life-events-inspired-long-road-home-50642375"}