Jerry Bruckheimer has enjoyed lasting success in Hollywood thanks to his blockbuster films, like “Armageddon,” “Top Gun” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” — but it’s American heroes that keep inspiring him.
And the 74-year-old film producer is no stranger to bringing true stories to life. Bruckheimer has relied on storytelling for the big screen to honor the men who’ve tirelessly fought for America, which is seen in his war movies, such as “Black Hawk Down” and “Pearl Harbor.”
Bruckheimer’s latest project is “12 Strong,” which was inspired by the first U.S. Special Forces that were sent to Afghanistan in the weeks after the September 11th terror attack. It’s a tale that was kept under wraps until Doug Stanton’s book “Horse Soldiers” was published in 2009.
“12 Strong” stars Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Pena, as well as comedian/Marine Rob Riggle.
Fox News spoke with Bruckheimer about the captivating soldiers behind “12 Strong,” his passion for the American military and being a proud conservative in Hollywood.
Fox News: What inspired you to tell the story of the horse soldiers?
Bruckheimer: I like to tell stories about individuals who have made a difference in our world, but yet you know nothing about them. This was a classified story that was recently declassified. It made such a difference for our country and the Afghan people.
And I think they should be remembered. And with this movie, they will be remembered. We did it with "Remember the Titans," "Glory Road" and "Black Hawk Down." So this is a terrific, heroic story. And I also like to tell stories that not only entertain an audience but also educate. And I think this movie is a prime example of educating the world about this very interesting mission.
Fox News: Where did your passion for the military come from?
Bruckheimer: I think about their professionalism and how they operate and the fact that they give up so much to protect our shores. And the fact that they have to leave their families, especially the men on this particular mission. Mark [Nutsch], the man Chris Hemsworth plays, he left behind his wife and child and didn’t know if he would ever come back. And they do that because they love our country and they want to protect their families. And I believe these men should be celebrated.
Fox News: In “12 Strong,” how important was it to show Afghan soldiers helping American soldiers especially after the 9/11 tragedy?
Bruckheimer: We were fortunate because we worked with a lot of Afghan refugees. They’re actually in the movie. There’s a whole community of them in New Mexico. And what they said to us after they’ve been working on the movie and read the script, they said, "This is such an important film for the Muslim people and for the Afghani people." So they can see how we can work together against the common foe and rid our country of invaders. And the fact the brotherhood between the two different nations, I think, is very important.
Fox News: What surprised you the most about these soldiers?
Bruckheimer: I think they don’t see themselves as heroes. They see themselves as doing their job. They’re highly intelligent men. Of course, they’re deadly. But still, they are here to support our country and that’s why they joined the military. They’re the common man who rises to extraordinary personal triumphs. And we love that triumphant spirit. I love telling those stories.
Fox News: What was your research process like for this film?
Bruckheimer: Doug Stanton’s book gave us a great rendition of what happened over there. He interviewed those who were actually part of the mission… Plus, we met with the real soldiers. They are portrayed in the movie. We spent a lot of time with them and they were on the set with us. They were there and they said, “Look, this is how it happened.”
We tried to give an honest account of that. This is Hollywood, and we do have to tell a story in two hours when it reality it took three weeks. But we tried to be as accurate as we could. When we showed it to them, and we showed it to the head of Special Forces, they said we captured the essence of that operation, and that’s the greatest honor for us as filmmakers to get the people really on the ground and more involved to stay we portrayed them right.
Fox News: How have you managed to remain a proud conservative in Hollywood?
Bruckheimer: I think it’s always about your work. I don’t let politics get into my work. I just try to make movies that celebrate the human spirit and entertain. I get along with just about everybody so even though we might have different views on certain things, it doesn’t matter. We’re there for the work.
Fox News: Do you think we’ll see more films that celebrate American patriotism?
Bruckheimer: If it’s a success, yes. We’ll definitely see more. We know it’s a very entertaining movie. We know it’s a compelling, true story. It has a lot of humor. But hopefully we will have a big weekend and we can celebrate... And this story is a compelling, entertaining one. And what’s also very interesting is that women love this film. Especially women with husbands and sons in the military. The film shows the sacrifices they have to make for their children and their spouses.
Fox News: How do the actors feel about sharing this story?
Bruckheimer: I think every one of them were captivated by the real-life men who went on this mission. A lot of them read the script and went, "I can’t believe this is true." Then we gave them the book. And a lot of actors wanted to be in this movie because after reading the book, they were inspired to play these characters on the big screen.
"12 Strong" premieres Friday in theaters.