Alek Skarlatos smiles before signing a book for a customer at the Roseburg Costco in 2016. Skarlatos returned to his former workplace to sign books of “The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes.”

Hometown hero Alek Skarlatos will star as himself in a Clint Eastwood movie about his heroic tackle of a would-be terrorist on a Paris-bound train in 2015.

Skarlatos and two of his friends took action after a gunman armed with a Russian-made AK-47, a handgun and a box cutter emerged from a train lavatory, then fired shots on a train headed to Paris from Amsterdam.

Since he helped foil the terrorism attempt, Skarlatos has received medals from the state and the Army, the French Legion of Honor and the keys to the city of Roseburg. He also took third place on the ABC program Dancing with the Stars.

Soon, his story will hit the big screen. In April, The News-Review reported that the actions of Skarlatos and his childhood friends Anthony Sadler and Spencer Stone would be the subject of an Eastwood movie.

But Tuesday, Variety magazine announced the real life heroes would play themselves in the movie.

Skarlatos’ mother Karen Skarlatos said she had been sworn to silence until the magazine article came out. This morning, she was able to say that, yet again, she had reason to be proud of her son.

“As I understand it was a last-minute thought that these boys would play themselves. I guess no one can be more authentic at being you than you,” she said.

She said her son hasn’t ever acted and never was in a school play.

“It’s going to be really new for all three of them, but they have such a warm vibe amongst them, especially Alek and Spencer. Being with them is like going to a stage play, a comedy, because they just play off each other’s words and they’re funny. It’s just a delight to be with both the boys in the same room, so I can see how they’re going to easily play themselves,” she said.

Karen Skarlatos said she’s thrilled every step of the way as new opportunities open up for her son.

“We’re very proud,” she said. “We’re excited for Alek, and our happiness is for him. We’re just thrilled that he’s had these wonderful things come his way, because things could have turned out so differently. His Dad and I thank God every night that Alek is still around, because it could have been so different,” she said.

According to Variety, the film will be called “The 15:17 to Paris.” It takes its name from the book “The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes,” written by the three along with author Jeffrey E. Stern, and published in 2016. The movie will begin with the story of the three heroes’ childhood friendship.

Alek Skarlatos was headed to the airport this morning and could not be reached for comment.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

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The movie will begin with the story of the three heroes’ childhood friendship.
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