Is Triple Frontier based on a true story? Netflix movie turned to Special Forces

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Triple Frontier is now on Netflix telling the story of a drug heist carried out by ex-Special Forces operatives.

If you’ve watched it already and are wondering whether it has any basis on truth, that’s understandable, the team behind it were going for a realistic feel and a ‘true’ portrayal of what it’s like being a vet.

The film follows a group of former special forces operatives who reunite to plan a heist in a remote multi-border area in South America, crossing Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil known as “la triple frontera.”

The group undertake the mission for themselves rather than their country hoping to take home millions of dollars. Of course, things don’t quite go to plan.

The movie stars Ben Affleck , Oscar Isaac , Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal and is directed by J.C. Chandor.

Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal came up with the idea years before, but it took more than a decade to make Triple Frontier, which was co-written by Chandor and Boal.

On the set of Bigelow and Boal’s Bin Laden movie they were working on Triple Frontier at Paramount, she wanted Tom Hanks, they wanted Will Smith . When Smith asked to meet with her about it, she was so against it her agents asked the studios to lean on her to at least get her in the same room as him.

They did have that meeting, but it never led to anything. Instead Boal and Bigelow moved on, coming back to the script later on and eventually teaming up with Netflix.

But how much is grounded in reality?

(Image: Netflix)

The Hurt Locker takes inspiration from Boal’s 2004 troop embedment with bomb diffusers in Iraq, then Boal served in Iraq in 2009,  which seems to have helped him add the realistic traits to the vets.

The actual action scenes were also worked on with the help of Special Forces advisors.

Oscar Issac has spoken about the time spent with the experts on-set.

Speaking to BlackFilm he said: “We met Kevin Rance and Nick John, who are these incredible Special Forces Advisors. For me, that was the most important part of this whole thing. Nick John was with us every step of the way building our confidence and helping us take these things seriously and focus on what really matter; not necessarily how many push ups we can do but how to think in a tactical way. By the end of the day, they gave us live ammunition and trusted us with that.”

(Image: Netflix)

The actors spent plenty of time on-set with the Special Forces guys to get them ready for their parts and to make sure it was accurate.

Speaking to IGN at a roundtable, Isaac added: “For me the most interesting, exciting part about it, is getting to hear the stories of the real guys — the guys that lived this life, that sacrificed so much for the country and getting to work with them, particularly Nick John and Kevin Vance.”

Affleck said: “It’s based more in truth than other movies that are based on other IPs nd whatever because for us it was based on the training, the special forces operators, the guys in the military trying to convincingly replicate what they did, how they looked and how they moved.”

(Image: Netflix)

He added: “We listened to them talk about the process of adjusting, of being deployed over and over again. To come back home and what those challenges were. I was trying to go for something realistic.”

While the actual characters are original, Hunnam’s nickname was taken from a real Special Forces operative.

Speaking to FOX DC Hunnam said: “We were given the opportunity to work with some guys who’d worked at a high level, Special Forces, SEAL team, a Delta Force guy…I said to him, ‘How would you get yourself a nickname like Ironhead?” And he said, ‘Well, you’ve probably been shot in the head and you got some lead in your head, but Ironhead sounds better than Leadhead, you know?'”

So while Triple Frontier isn’t based on a true story, the characters were fleshed out from Boal’s experience and the work the actors did with real Special Forces operatives.

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