13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, otherwise known simply as 13 Hours, is a 2016 American biographical war movie directed and produced by Michael Bay and written by Chuck Hogan, based on Mitchell Zuckoff’s 2014 book 13 Hours. Take a look below for 26 more fun and interesting facts about 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.
1. The movie follows six members of Annex Security Team who fought to defend the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya after waves of attacks by Islamic militants on September 11, 2012.
2. The movie stars James Badge Dale, John Krasinski, David Guintoli, Max Martini, Pablo Schreiber and Toby Stephens.
3. Filming began on April 27, 2015 in Malta and Morocco. Known colloquially as “the Benghazi movie,” the movie was released on January 15, 2016 by Paramount Pictures.
4. 13 Hours received generally mixed reviews from critics and grossed just $69 million worldwide against a budget of $50 million, becoming Michael Bay’s lowest grossing movie to date.
5. The movie received an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound Mixing at the 89th Academy Awards.
6. According to producer Erwin Stoff, the diplomatic compound and CIA annex were built using the actual plans. He said, “What we did, is we had actual plans and satellite images of the original structures, and we had the guys. So we built these, we replicated both the annex and the diplomatic mission exactly to the inch.”
7. The original cut of the movie was four hours long.
8. To prepare for his role of Jack Silva, John Krasinski dropped from 25% to 8% body fat.
9. Glen Doherty was good friends with Brandon Webb, who was a sniper instructor for the Navy SEALs. Webb trained both Marcus Luttrell and Chris Kyle.
10. Toby Stephens was a good friend of the real-life Jack Silva.
11. In a January 18, 2016 interview on the Mark Levin radio show, Mark Geist said that he sneaked in during filming, and took the place of Max Martini, the actor portraying him. Michael Bay didn’t notice until Geist looked at the camera.
12. When washing up after the initial attack, “Rone” puts a picture in the flap of his ballistic vest. This is an actual photo of Tyrone Woods and his infant son.
13. Michael Bay said that he was attracted to the project because he’d used veterans in all of his movies, as actors and technical advisers, and felt that he would be uniquely qualified to tell their story.
14. According to Mark Geist, the mortar rounds that hit the roof had a kill radius of 21 feet, meaning that anybody within 21 feet of a round was as good as dead.
15. The opening text says virtually all foreign embassies in Libya closed. The embassy of Malta, Libya’s northern island neighbor, stayed open throughout the period. Malta is also where a lot of the movie was filmed.
16. John Krasinski’s character wears the Punisher emblem on his bullet proof vest. The character of Chris Kyle in American Sniper’s Navy SEAL unit also has that symbol on his clothing.
17. During the morning prayer scene, the mosque tower shown was from Black Hawk Down, when the helicopters are flying around Mogadishu, blaring that they will not leave Mike Durant behind.
18. Michael Bay said that filming in Malta, he used a film crew he’d never used before. Bay claimed that an international crew, working so well together, telling a story centered on Americans, was a tribute to the universality of the story.
19. 13 Hours is Michael Bay’s third drama movie based on real-life events, after Pearl Harbor and Pain & Gain.
20. On January 7, 2016, Academy Award winning director William Friedkin tweeted, “13 Hours is a powerful movie that raises important questions that need to be answered.”
21. Mark Wahlberg was the first choice to portray Tyrone “Rone” Woods. However, he declined due to prior commitments.
23. Michael Bay’s hair was burnt while filming an action sequence in Malta.
24. To prepare for his role as Tyrone Woods, James Badge Dale first met with the real Jack Silva. He also got to know Tyrone’s mother. After she saw the movie, she told James that they did it right.
25. Sean Smith was an avid gamer. His favorite MMO game was EVE Online, where he attained almost legendary status as the character “Vile Rat.” His death resulted in several community tributes online.
26. The movie caused controversy in Libya. Many Libyans believed that it ignored the contributions of local people who helped save the U.S. ambassador.