Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon star in 12 Strong, a powerful new war drama that tells the declassified true story of the Horse Soldiers. Based on the best-selling book Horse Soldiers, it is a story of heroism based on real events that unfolded a world away in the aftermath of 9/11.Playing the 12 Strong U.S. Special Forces team are Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Peña, Trevante Rhodes, Geoff Stults, Thad Luckinbill, Austin Stowell, Ben O’Toole, Austin Hébert, Kenneth Miller, Kenny Sheard and Jack Tesy. The ensemble cast also includes Navid Negahban, Elsa Pataky, William Fichtner and Rob Riggle.
Check out our exclusive interview with Chris and Michael:
Nicolette Acosta: What was it like prepping for this film? I know you guys had your ranger training camp….
Michael Peña: We did around three weeks, and it was kind of an all-encompassing thing where we’d go in and you know work on the script, rehearse and what not and then military training with the weapons and the horses, me and Scratchy kind of get along. He reminds me of this guy [Chris Hemsworth] because I would be on him and in my mind he’d just be like, “No dude,” and I’d be like, “come on go!”.
Chris Hemsworth: That’s a good thing because with explosions going on around you, its better than having a spooked horse. Those horses threw people off.
NA: Do you have riding experience? I know your character didn’t have any but…
MP: A very, very little bit, I did a movie and I think I rode it three times. This guy did the Huntstman…
CH: I’ve ridden horses mainly for film, and a little bit outside of that, but I had to do a bit more rehearsing because my character had a lot of experience, he was the only one who’d ridden before, but even in his real life he’d grown up in a ranch so… but it sort of fit a lot of the actors not being able to ride because a lot of these soldiers, these men hadn’t ridden either so, the uncertainty and so on fit the reality of the situation.
NA: One thing that was really interesting was the family aspect, you both have families, how much of that did you connect to having to travel a lot for your jobs and also putting your mindset on these men who had a high likelihood that they weren’t coming home?
MP: I think the percentages of us getting home are much higher, “Just come home safe from that photo shoot”…
CH: It’s more like, “You better come home at 9 o’clock Chris!” I think for a lot of these guys it’s the driving force to complete this mission to get home to their families, and also for the protection of their family and so on… and so there is a lot to draw from in that instance and also talking to military families and people in these situations you see this unwavering commitment to their job and what they are going to do, but also the weight of that because of the families. And it’s just as difficult for the wife and kids at home not knowing when the phone is gonna ring or when they are going to come the door.
The film hits theaters this Friday.