Only the Brave tells a true story of resilience, of a group of people working together against impossible odds to save the lives of others. Unlike many movies of this nature, however, Only the Brave is not about soldiers or police officers, but rather firefighters — specifically the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite team tasked with battling out-of-control wildfires. The film focuses on their mission to stop the devastating Yarnell Hill Fire that raged across Arizona starting in June 2013. While firefighters don’t find themselves in the cultural spotlight as often as those other professions, that’s probably intentional, according to Josh Brolin, who stars as Granite Mountain Hotshots superintendent Eric Marsh.
“That’s the whole firefighting community. As boisterous and gregarious as they are, they’re a very humble lot,” Brolin tells EW. “I’ve found that through and through over the last 30 years. They just do what they do, very honorably. It’s a community that are really unto themselves, and it’s the last professional community that’s untainted, that doesn’t seem corrupt in any way, shape, or form. Hopefully by the time you see this movie, when you see a firefighter on the street or on the road, you’ll wave just a little bit longer.”
Brolin himself spent time as a volunteer firefighter in Arizona years ago, which gave him a first-hand look at the camaraderie of the profession. Interestingly, Brolin says that same level of team spirit carried over to the film’s production, binding the cast together and keeping them engaged even after shooting wrapped.
“It was the most close-knit community of actors that I’ve ever worked with,” Brolin says of a cast that also includes Miles Teller and Taylor Kitsch. “We have this text thread that’s literally still going every single day. The community has not split up in any sense of the word. We’re still as close as we were when we were on set. The nature of being on set is extremely powerful, but then usually after 3 months you go and create another relationship on a different set. This was different, probably because of the subject matter. Nobody’s willing to let it go.”
Check out the exclusive new poster below, and the previously released trailer above. Only the Brave, directed by Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy) and also starring Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Connelly, and James Badge Dale, hits theaters Oct. 20.