Weekly StaffFebruary 2, 2018
LOS ANGELES—Armenian-American professor Mark Moogalian, the first passenger to tackle a gunman during a terrorist attack on a high-speed train traveling to Paris from Amsterdam in 2015, will play himself in Clint Eastwood’s upcoming film “The 15:17 to Paris.”
According to sources, the film also stars Moogalian’s wife, Isabelle Risacher Moogalian, who was also on board that day.
During the high-speed train ride on Aug. 21, 2015, Moogalian tackled gunman El-Khazzani, who was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle. It was reported that Moogalian instinctively acted to protect his wife Isabella and managed to take the assault rifle away from El-Khazzani. The assailant managed to then draw another gun and shoot Moogalian in the neck.
Moogalian, who is from Midlothian, Va. and teaches English at Paris-Sorbonne University, was quickly rushed to a hospital where he was rehabilitated and eventually made a full recovery from his injuries.
In Sept. 2015, less than a month after the incident, Moogalian was awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honor for bravery, by then French President Francois Hollande at the Élysée Palace.
Written by Dorothy Blyskal, “The 15:17 to Paris” is based on the autobiography The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Soldiers by Jeffrey E. Stern, Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos. Stone, Sadler, and Skarlatos—the American passengers who helped stop the attack by tackling the attacker—also star in the film as themselves.
The film is scheduled to be released on Feb. 9 by Warner Bros. Pictures.