At the TCAs: Nat Geo Presents The Long Road Home

At the TCAs, National Geographic introduced part of the large cast and production behind “The Long Road Home,” a scripted dramatic series based on true events. From Martha Raddatz’s New York Times bestseller of the same name, the series depicts the heroic fight for survival during the Iraq War when the 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood was ambushed on April 4, 2004, in Sadr City, Baghdad, a day that came to be known as Black Sunday. “The Long Road Home” will launch with a special two-hour premiere on Tuesday, November 7th, just before Veterans Day.

The panel was attended by cast, production team and some of the soldiers from the real-life event who acted as consultants. They included Darius Homayoun (Interpreter Jassim al-Lani), E.J. Bonilla (Lt. Shane Aguero), Jon Beavers (Sgt. Eric Bourquin), Jeremy Sisto (Staff Sgt. Robert Miltenberger), Sarah Wayne Callies (LeAnn Volesky), Noel Fisher (Pfc. Tomas Young), Kate Bosworth (Gina Denomy), Michael Kelly (Lt. Col. Gary Volesky), Eric Bourquin, (Soldier and Production Consultant), Aaron Fowler (Soldier and Production Consultant), Martha Raddatz (Author and ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent), Jason Clark (Executive Producer), Mikko Alanne (Showrunner/Screenwriter/Executive Producer) and Mike Medavoy (Executive Producer).

Real life soldier Eric Bourquin (played by Jeremy Sisto in the series) hopes “…the audience takes home the sacrifice and they understand that the story is about family. It’s about sacrifice. It’s about “Nobody can do it alone,” he said on the panel. 

The story is divided between the events on the ground in Iraq as well as the wives and families back home waiting anxiously for news. The stories of the soldiers’ wives are intimately told by the series, enhanced by the close relationships between the actresses and their real-life counterparts.

Sarah Wayne Callies (LeAnn) shared, “Look, this is a war story that passes the Bechdel test. That’s not something you can say very often, and I think it’s a privilege for us to represent the women’s courage and strength in balance to what the guys were doing up here too.” 

Mike Medavoy (Showrunner/Screenwriter/Producer) has a long history in making great films on the war experience, including “Platoon.” “Apocalypse Now,” “Coming Home,” and “The Thin Red Line.” The series received assistance from the Army, including living on the Fort Hood base and filming there, which added another layer of depth to the production.

Mikko Alanne (Executive Producer) explained just what made “The Long Road Home” so unique. “…it was our aspiration from the beginning to try to create an intimacy and an immediacy to the experience that no one had ever really done for television before. …we have eight different perspectives in each of the episodes into the event, and we do that by choosing one family through whose point of view we see the event,” he said. “Every hour we reset the clock and go back to day zero, essentially, meet a family almost all over again and get to live through the day almost in real-time. So I think that it’s been remarkable to do this with National Geographic, to propose something so ambitious and complex.”

Catch the limited series premiere of “The Long Road Home” beginning with a special two-hour premiere on Tuesday, November 7th, just before Veterans Day, on National Geographic. Check your local listings.