Film on deadly Ari­zona wild­fire comes as Cal­i­for­nia burns

Times Colonist - - Arts -

TEMPE, Ari­zona — A movie that chron­i­cles a 2013 wild­fire that killed 19 Ari­zona fire­fight­ers de­buts to­day on the heels of an­other fire tragedy that has cap­ti­vated the na­tion.

Only the Brave is based on the Gran­ite Moun­tain Hot­shots who died while fight­ing a wild­fire near Yar­nell, Ari­zona.

Ac­tors from the movie ap­peared at a red car­pet event in Ari­zona on Tues­day as re­lent­less fires rav­age winer­ies, ru­ral towns and neigh­bour­hoods in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia — an event not lost on the cast and crew of the pic­ture.

“When I turn the news on … to see im­ages that look like they were taken from our film, is sur­real,” di­rec­tor Joseph Kosin­ski said.

Fire of­fi­cials say the wild­fires in Cal­i­for­nia have killed more than 20 peo­ple and de­stroyed at least 3,500 homes and busi­nesses this week.

Cast mem­bers Josh Brolin, Miles Teller and James Badge Dale at­tended the Ari­zona pre­mière with some of the fire­fight­ers’ fam­i­lies and the lone mem­ber of the crew who sur­vived.

On June 30, 2013, the 19 elite Ari­zona wild­land fire­fight­ers were sta­tioned in a rel­a­tively safe po­si­tion on a ridgetop that al­ready had burned. But for un­known rea­sons and with­out no­ti­fy­ing any­one, they moved down the moun­tain­side through an un­burned area where they were trapped by a wall of flames when winds shifted the fire to­ward them.

Kosin­ski said he didn’t want to make a sad movie and that he wanted it to cel­e­brate the joy the men had for fire­fight­ing and the broth­er­hood they shared.

The lone sur­vivor, Bren­dan McDonough, said see­ing the movie was cathar­tic for him and he thought the movie “did our broth­ers jus­tice.”

“I think they re­ally cre­ated an au­then­tic film that re­ally shows just what the job is about, what the life­style is, what the fam­i­lies go through,” McDonough said.

McDonough served as the look­out for the crew when they de­scended into the brush­choked area. He no­ti­fied the crew of the rapidly chang­ing weather that sent winds swirling er­rat­i­cally and caused the fire to cut off their es­cape route.

Then, he swiftly left his post for safety. Fire man­agers have said he did ex­actly what he was sup­posed to.

Brolin plays Eric Marsh, who was the crew’s su­per­in­ten­dent and the old­est mem­ber of the group.

Brolin said he loves any project that has to with fire­fight­ers and mak­ing peo­ple con­scious that “th­ese guys are putting them­selves in peril con­stantly … for the safety of their com­mu­ni­ties.”

Jane Marsh, Marsh’s mother, said she spent three hours with Brolin be­fore they started film­ing the movie, which was shot in New Mex­ico.

“Even though I cried all through it when I first saw it in Au­gust, he por­trayed Eric re­ally well,” Marsh said.

This June 30, 2013, photo shows a wild­fire burn­ing homes in Yar­nell, Ari­zona. Only The Brave chron­i­cles the Yar­nell blaze that killed 19 Ari­zona fire­fight­ers.

Bren­dan McDonough was the sole sur­vivor in the crew of 19.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.