“Iron Man 3” star James Badge Dale sees action anew in the big screen as ex-Navy SEAL Tyrone “Rone” Woods in director Michael Bay’s new epic action-adventure “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” from Paramount Pictures.
“13 Hours” is the gripping true story of six elite ex-military operators assigned to protect the CIA who fought back against overwhelming odds when terrorists attacked a U.S. diplomatic compound on September 11, 2012. When everything went wrong, six men had the courage to do what was right.
The film is written by Chuck Hogan, based on the book 13 Hours by Mitchell Zuckoff and Members of the Annex Security Team. The film also stars John Krasinski, Max Martini, Pablo Schreiber, Toby Stephens, David Denman and Dominic Fumusa.
Dale’s real-life character, Woods, was known for a particularly intense workout while serving as a CIA contractor in Benghazi, Libya: He would heave a massive tractor tire to keep himself in top shape. Dale knew he had to reach that level of fitness in order to portray Woods effectively.
“That was a 450-pound tire — that thing was heavy,” Dale says. “But that’s what (Woods) did: He would drag that tractor tire around the CIA annex. It was important for me to do that.”
Pushing himself physically was where Dale, 37, started for his role in “13 Hours.” Woods is one of the pivotal real-life figures who died after stepping into battle during the attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi.
Dale spent two months in intense training, consuming 5,000 calories a day to put on 20 pounds. “We all have this dream of gaining weight, eating whatever we want. And it was beautiful for a while. Then it got dark. It changes your relationship with food,” Dale says. “I was waking up in the middle of the night, eating meals and going back to sleep. I was an angry, miserable person.”
He also spent the time talking to those who served with Woods so he could zero on his trademark simmering intensity. Woods “had spent 20 years as a Navy SEAL. He was a hero long before that night,” Dale says. “He didn’t have bluster. He didn’t brag.”
The role has pushed the actor — already known for playing PFC Robert Leckie in the HBO Marines miniseries “The Pacific” and as henchman Savin in “Iron Man 3” — to an impassioned level.
“It is really James Badge Dale who carries the film and brings the emotional punch it needs,” says Colin Motill, editor of the movie site NotYetRated. Mark “Oz” Geist, who served with Woods in Benghazi, says he was wowed seeing Dale. “Rone had this quiet intensity about him that (Dale) somehow brought out. I saw the man I knew onscreen once again.”
“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” opens across the Philippines on January 27, 2016 as distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.