At this point in cinema, anytime moviegoers happen to see the words “based on a true story” appear in a trailer or ad, they tend to raise their eyebrows or just roll their eyes. That’s not to say that using this approach is necessarily bad, but the results have usually been a mixed bag; for every amazing and faithful adaptation like 127 Hours, Apollo 13 and Schindler’s List, we also have movies that bend the actual events way too much in order to build faux or incorrect movie drama, with no solid payoff in the end (ex. Patch Adams, Pearl Harbor). With this in mind, I’m crossing my fingers that Granite Mountain (previously called No Exit) is an example of the former.
Granite Mountain is the upcoming action-drama film telling the tragic story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite group of 20 firefighters belonging to the Prescott Fire Department in Prescott Arizona. On June 30, 2013, nineteen of those firemen sacrificed their lives to help contain the Yarnell Hill Fire, the sixth-deadliest American firefighter disaster on record, as well as the greatest loss of life in the US since the events of 9/11.
Even with a talented list of names already signed on, among them Jennifer Connelly, Josh Brolin and Miles Teller, it looks like two new faces are joining the cast: Ben Hardy (X-Men: Apocalypse) and Alex Russell (Chronicle). While neither of their characters have been named yet, it is most likely that they will be playing the roles of two of the firemen who tragically lost their lives. This heavy focus on casting appears to back up the comments of producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who wanted the core focus of this movie to not be the fire itself, but rather the men and their personal lives, as well as the sacrifices that they made. “This movie’s not about tragedy,” said di Bonaventura in an interview, “This movie is about the lives of these people and what they were trying to put on the line, and what it meant to them to do what they were doing and what it meant to the community to have them doing it.”
While drafting the story, the filmmakers remained in contact with the sole Hotshots survivor Brendan McDonough, who will be portrayed by Teller in the upcoming film. Hopefully, this represents their dedication to telling a faithful story of these men, whose actions represent the best of humanity when trying to protect others from harm. Production for the movie should begin on this Monday, June 13th and the finished movie will hopefully get a release date for Sept. 22, 2017.