(L-R) Pablo Screiber, John Krasinki, David Denman, and Dominic Fumusa in a scene from ’13 Hours.’ (Dion Beebe photo)

(L-R) Pablo Screiber, John Krasinki, David Denman, and Dominic Fumusa in a scene from ’13 Hours.’ (Dion Beebe photo)

About a month before the release of “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” The Film Strip saw footage of the film, which was followed by lunch at New York’s Urbo restaurant with the real life heroes of the movie Mark ‘Oz’ Geist, Kris ‘Tanto’ Paronto, and John ‘Tig’ Tiegen played by Max Martini, Pablo Schreiber and Dominic Fumusa. The affable trio had much to say about what we had just seen that was based on the book, “13 Hours.”

The very engaging and amusing Kris had some very interesting things to say that were off the record; I assured him my lips were sealed. I did tell Tanto I would say he referred to himself as a “media whore,” which is a good thing considering we live in a world so reliant on the media, particularly social media.

“13 Hours” gives you a blow-by-blow account of what happened on September 11, 2012, when terrorists attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Yet, while under attack, the members of the Annex Security Team were told to “stand down.” Had the badass Secret Soldiers of Benghazi listened to their superiors, many more lives would have been lost that day.

Audiences will spend two of the best hours in a movie theater this year when they see “13 Hours.” The emotional experience transports the moviegoers from their seats to the fierce fight for life in Benghazi. You are literally drained when you leave the theater, having lived vicariously though the experiences of the brave men onscreen, fighting against all odds.

Kris spoke of the stance they took and what went down in Benghazi. “My teammates did so many amazing things; and ‘13 Hours’ is that story—the battle—and the lot of sacrifices that took place. It shows that there are still guys out there that are willing to sacrifice their lives for others, before themselves.”

“13 Hours” is just told from minute to minute, the story of what happened and what we all did and went through,” John added. “JRS stands for Global Response Services and we’re mainly used in high threat situations,” Mark explained.  “We are the security element for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and we just provide protection in austere environments,” Kris confirmed.

 (L-R) John "Tig" Tiegen, Mark "Oz" Geist, and Kris "Tanto" Paronto at the Dallas Premiere of '3 Hours"

(L-R) John “Tig” Tiegen, Mark “Oz” Geist, and Kris “Tanto” Paronto at the Dallas Premiere of ’13 Hours.”

Although the security team was told not to get involved, John said the fear of insubordination never crossed their minds, and they were not going to sit idly by when government officials would not send in help. “We heard on the radio someone saying, ‘hey if you guys don’t get over here, we’re all gonna die,’ he recalled. “We just kind of looked at each other and said, ‘we gotta go now.’”

At the premiere in Dallas, Texas John Krasinki (Jack Silva) remarked that the whole experience was “totally surreal.” He said he had never been in a movie like “13 Hours” and it was a big responsibility for them to get it right. “I don’t think any of us had any intention of telling the Hollywood version of this,” he said. “We wanted to tell the real story. Everybody asks, ‘What was the toughest thing, getting in shape or doing the action scenes?’ It was carrying the weight of that responsibility.

“I come from a big military family so I’ve always supported the troops but I don’t even think I knew what it meant fully. So I think it’s something we should always reexamine every single day and keep remembering what it is these men and women are giving up for us.”

 James Badge Dale, David Denman, Alexia Barlier, Demetrious Grosse and Shane Rowe star,  Michael Bay directs.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” opens in theaters in North America on January 15, 2016. For more info visit: www.thirteenhoursmovie.com.

Syndicated Entertainment journalist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]

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