#13Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Press Conference with Director Michael Bay and Cast!

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
Director: Michael Bay
Writers: Chuck Hogan (screenplay), Mitchell Zuckoff
Starring: John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber, Toby Stephens
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong combat violence throughout, bloody images, and language
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An American Ambassador is killed during an attack at a U.S. compound in Libya as a security team struggles to make sense out of the chaos.

We had the honor and a privilege to be invited to participate in the press conference of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. In attendance were the heroes of the Benghazi attack, John "Tig" Tiegen, Mark "Oz" Geizt, James Badge Dale as well as Director Michael Bay, Johh Krasinski, Kris "Tanto" Paronto, Pablo Schreiber, Dominic Fumusa, Max Martini, Chuch Hogan, Author Mitchell Zuckoff, Erwin Stoff, David Deman, David Costabile, Harry Humphries and Producer Suzanne Marvier. Yes, it was a packed house! Seeing everyone excited about the film made this experience even more amazing. Even though everyone was excited, it was impossible to get pictures.

Based on a true event and the help of the surviving members of the Annex Security Team in Benghazi, 13 Hours is Bay "most real movie". A very explosive, realistic film that will open eyes to the world of what really happened at the U.S. diplomatic compound on September 11, 2012 in the city of Benghazi. How a group of soldiers risked their lives to save Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and Sean Smith, Foreign Service officer. With the devastating realization that these men could not reach in time to save these lives due to the orders of their commander. Even though they were more than willing to respond to the attack without any hesitation.

13 Hours is a horrific film that will have you on the edge of your seat. The mayhem and the camerawork will have audiences incredibly confused, terrified and angry by the context. This film with break your heart yet mend it with the warmth of the bravery, courage and willingness of these heroes. A story that will haunt you. It is a story to see, to experience what these brave soldiers went through.

In the words of John Krasinski, 13 Hours is a "heroic efforts, which is actually the stories that we should be being led by". It is a story we should all go watch this weekend.

Below is just a taste of what I experienced during the press panel. Please kee in mind that there are a few minor spoilers mentioned throughout this panel. So make sure to watch the movie prior to reading:

MODERATOR: Michael Bay.  You've made a lot of movies.  So, what was it about this story that you were like, "I need to make this movie my next movie."

MICHAEL BAY: Like I said before, I've worked with a lot of these-- special-- operators.  I was, like, the f-- The Rock was the first movie to actually use a real Seal team in it, when I was a young kid, workin' with Sean Connery. From there I became friends with a lot of them, through the years.  

Harry Humphries is, like, Seal Team Two?  He-- let me tell you a really quick story.  All right, so he's like--

HARRY HUMPHRIES: I invented Seal Team Two.  (LAUGHS)

MICHAEL BAY: First-- first-- all right.  You can't print this, but what it first-- his first movie, he's this military advisor on The Rock.  I said, "Okay, we're gonna set a guy on fire."  Sean Connery's supposed to stab the guy in the hand, and he sets him on fire.  And we're in a big pit, all right?  And the guy's hanging 30 feet.  I said, "Harry, you're on fire n-- fire hose number two, you're right next to me."  I'm on a camera, we got 12 cameras goin'.

You get a guy in burn jail, right?  The guy's up there.  Takes an hour to rig him up.  He starts burning, he starts screaming, "Ah!"  And I was like, "Oh, this is great.  This is great.  This is great."  And then all of a sudden, "Shhh."  What the fuck!  What the fuck!  Who's puttin' the guy out?

"Harry, what the fuc* are you doin'!"  (LAUGHS) He put the guy out.  Anyway.  All right, maybe it wasn't so funny.  (LAUGHS) Maybe it wasn't so funny.  That was his first-- week with me.  But-- anyway-- from there I put-- I put a lotta these real guys in-- in movies.  And-- they're a very special group of people that is very selfless.  Very humble, very different than you would think.

And it was just-- to me-- the story was something that was inspirational, after you get rid of what-- what the world knows is Benghazi.  We know about this much, but there's this much of the story.  And this is the great part of the story, the great human part of the story.  And I think it's-- it was something to me that was inspirational-- so that's (UNINTEL). 

MODERATOR: Why take on a story like 13 Hours on, and-- and did you agree to write the book before you met the guys?


MODERATOR: And what was it was like when you met them for the first time?

MITCHELL ZUCKOFF: Well, I-- I-- I absolutely hesitated.  Because-- Michael and I have talked about this, that-- wading into Benghazi was, you know, the kind of thing, you know, good careers go to die there.  You know?  And-- so, I did hesitate.  And thought about it.

Spent a weekend-- talking with friends, and-- and-- and people I trust.  And then we did set up a phone call.  We set up a conference call between me and the guys.  And that's when I knew I couldn't not write this story.  You meet these guys, you get to know them.  Even Tanto.

And-- what they went through, and the responsibility to tell their story fully, and honestly, and completely-- became really a privilege, and a responsibility.

MODERATOR: Tig, Oz, and Tanto-- first, I wanna-- I wanna say thank you for your service.  Harry as well.  Now, for each of you, what was your motivation in telling your story?  I mean, I imagine you've been in other fire fights before the night of September 11th, 2012.  So, why did you feel compelled to share your side of the events that night with the public?

MARK "Oz" GEIZT: 'Cause Tanto lied.  (LAUGHS) Nah, I mean--

(COUGH) you know, we all went back to work, you know?  And-- did a couple more trips.  And it just-- the politicians just kinda hijacked the story.  And-- (NOISE) in the way they were doin' it, to me, was just totally dishonoring the-- the-- the four Americans that died.

And, you know, they're pretty much draggin' their bodies through the streets.  So-- (COUGH) (UNINTEL) to get the truth out there, you know, we coulda went to FOX News, or somethin' like that, or CNN, and just told it.  But then it woulda just got spun like they keep spinning everything else.  So, we kinda all got together and decided to put it down in a book, that way it can't be spun.  It-- it-- it is what it is now in the book.

KRIS ‘TANTO’ PARONTO: Benghazi's not-- it's-- it-- it's designated with a negative connotation, it shouldn't be.  Benghazi's a positive-- a lotta positive things happened that night.  The love for one another, brotherhood, the dealing with adversity, overcoming obstacles, the faith in each other, the faith in-- that was not what was being shown.

Because the truth wasn't being told.  And I think what people, the ones that have read the book, and also the ones that see The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, when they walk outta that theatre they're gonna have a totally different overview of what Benghazi is.

And that's not the politics of it.  It's about, man, overcoming anything they put in your way, and you never quit.  You never-- you never give up.  And people forget, 24-- over 24 lives were saved that night.  You know?  It's war, so people die.  It happens.  But a lotta great things came out of it.  And it-- Benghazi should be looked at as a motivation, not as some negative connotation.

MARK "Oz" GEIZT: When I showed the families-- you know, it's a very tough thing when you see, these guys were terrified to see the movie.  And-- Tig has still not seen it.

It's-- it's very hard for the families to come see it for the first time.  And these guys are sitting with their wives.  And I gotta tell ya, I was choked up, I was scared to show it, and we're s-- in a 700-person theatre.  I spoke for a moment, but the last word I said, I said, "Bottom line, this movie is inspirational."  And that's what the takeaway you want to be.

MODERATOR: John-- we've never really seen this side of you as an actor.  What was it that made you commit to doing this film?

JOHN KRASINSKI: I wanted to be a part of this in-- in every single way.  I come from a huge military family.  So, first and foremost, I have so many aunts, experience, and also shed some light on a glimmer of the sacrifiI wanted to be a part of this in-- in every single way.  I come from a huge military family.  So, first and foremost, I have so many aunts, ces and m-- courage that they-- you know, live by every single day.

So, that was one.  And then two, I really connected to the character.  Having just had-- a daughter just before we shot, I really bonded to a guy who had a really conflicted-- feeling about whether or not he should keep going back-- at the expense of his family.

So, being a huge family guy myself, that was huge.  And th-- that was my way in.  And then first and foremost, I-- you know, (COUGH) I will say, I admit, I was fully one of those people who thought I knew everything I needed to know about Benghazi.

I-- I'm not a news junkie, but I watch the news, I read the news.  And-- and-- you know, I thought I knew everything there was.  And I actually felt pretty stupid when I read the book, how little I did know.  And that the story that was being told has actually never been brought up in-- in the-- in the press.

So, to-- to hear about true-- heroic efforts, which is actually the stories that we should be being led by.  Those are the things that we should aspire to, and aspire to be.  I love that we, you know, I-- I like superhero movies, just like everybody else.

But it's really-- nice to be finally telling stories about true heroes that we can actually acknowledge for the first time.  And-- and say thank you, in the way that we should have a long, long time ago.

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