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Director: Firefighters immortalized in "Only the Brave" represent "the very best of what we are capable of"

© 2017 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved/Richard Foreman
© 2017 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved/Richard Foreman

(NEW YORK) — Josh Brolin stars in the new movie Only the Brave, the real-life story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of wildfire fighters in Arizona, 19 of whom died fighting a blaze in Prescott, Arizona in 2013.

Brolin, who plays Hotshots leader Eric Marsh, who died in the fire, spent part of his early 20s as a volunteer firefighter in Arizona.

“I’ve been involved in the firefighting community for 30 years. So I’ve known these people for a long time. But getting personally to know this group’s families has been…very humbling for me,” Brolin told ABC Radio at the movie’s premiere this week.  “You build this sensitivity, that you wouldn’t normally have. I thought I was a sensitive person but I think I’m more sensitive now.”

Miles Teller plays Brendan McDonough, the only Hotshot to survive the Yarnell Hill Fire. He says he hopes the movie will be a positive experience for the families of the fallen.

“When you watch this film, it’s a lot of smiles and laughs because you can see just how much these guys enjoyed doing what they do for a living and…it also immortalizes them, you know?”  he said. “Not every movie you make has that kind of impact, but this is absolutely one of them.”

Although most of the Hotshots lost their lives in the fire, Only the Brave director Joseph Kosinski says there’s more to the movie than tragedy.

He told ABC Radio the stories of Marsh and McDonough “represent the very best of what we are capable of. It’s a very inspiring story to me, it’s not a sad story. I think people will walk away with even more respect for fire fighters and all first responders.” 

Only the Brave opens today.

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