It’s no surprise that the three brave men who stopped a terrorist attack on a train to Paris in 2015 frequently look back on that fateful day.
On Aug. 21, 2015, childhood friends Spencer Stone, an Air Force staff sergeant, Army National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos and kinesiology student Anthony Sadler, charged and tackled a would-be terrorist on a train to Paris carrying 554 people.
“I was covered in three different people’s blood and my face smelled like gunpowder,” recalls Stone, who was slashed and nearly lost a thumb in the attack. “I remember coming off the train almost deliriously laughing. Like, ‘Oh, my God. I can’t believe I just survived that.’”
Now that the three 25-year-old heroes — who are once again making headlines by starring as themselves in The 15:17 to Paris, a movie based on their story directed by Clint Eastwood — have had some time to reflect on the day that changed their lives “entirely,” according to Stone, they’re honest about the one or two minor things they would have done differently.
“Probably my clothes,” says Skarlatos. “I was wearing all blue and red, it clashed! Once I put the clothes back on to shoot the movie, I thought ‘Wow, this is how people are going to remember me in a Clint Eastwood movie.'”
For much more on Stone, Skarlatos, Sadler and their new movie, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
Stone has a similarly superficial regret — that he wasn’t in better shape for the widely-circulated photo of him sitting shirtless outside the train.
“I wish I was about 25 pounds less the day of,” he admits. (Never mind the fact that the reason he was photographed shirtless is because he needed immediate attention from EMTs, and was wrapped in bandages and bloodied at the time, having sustained serious injuries after his act of heroism.)
The young men credit their longtime friendship as one of the major reasons they were able to successfully restrain the would-be terrorist.
“We knew we would have each other’s backs,” says Skarlatos. “We had the same playbook without even talking about it.”
Adds Sadler: “Everybody naturally did what they were supposed to.”
The 15:17 to Paris opens in theaters Feb. 9.