In about seven weeks the new movie “based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots” will be in theaters. In 2013, 19 members of the crew were entrapped and killed on the Yarnell Hill Fire south of Prescott, Arizona.
Not many many movies have been built around wildland firefighters. There was Red Skies of Montana that in 1952 introduced the myth of exploding trees, and Firestorm brought us Howie Long in 1998. Always was a good movie, but it was not really about wildland fire. So, many of us will be skeptical while waiting for Only the Brave to open on October 20.
However, there are reasons to be optimistic. Black Label Media which produced the film also made the award winning La La Land (Golden Globe Best Picture, Musical or Comedy), a story that could not be more different from Only the Brave, but it at least indicates that skilled personnel are employed by the company.
Molly Smith, an executive with Black Label, said it’s the film she’s most proud of. On her Instagram page she wrote:
We hope you feel, when you see it, as patriotic and proud as we have to have some of the greatest firefighters in the world constantly putting themselves out there for our well being. The ones who have lost their lives we honor respectfully every day, and the ones who wake up covered with dirt and ash and stale coffee on their breath (and always a ribbing laughter) we salute you again and again and again. I hope you feel we have represented you well.
The film has quite a few well-known actors, including Josh Brolin (plays Eric Marsh), Jeff Bridges (Duane Steinbrink), Jennifer Connelly (Amanda Marsh), Andie McDowell, Miles Teller (Brendan McDonough), and James Badge Dale.
In an Entertainment Weekly interview, Mr. Brolin, who for a while was a volunteer firefighter in Arizona, talked about how the actors in the movie still maintain regular contact:
This was different, probably because of the subject matter. Nobody’s willing to let it go.