By Olivia Bahou
Oct 30, 2017 @ 4:30 pm
National Geographic/Van Redin

Kate Bosworth isn’t an army wife, but her upcoming war series still felt deeply personal thanks to her close relationship with the real-life character she played. Bosworth stars as Gina Denomy, the wife of an army captain, in National Geographic’s new show The Long Road Home, premiering November 7.

The series chronicles the events of April 4, 2004, known now as “Black Sunday,” when a U.S. army platoon was ambushed in Sadr City, Baghdad. Based on the book by Martha Raddatz, The Long Road Home skips between the action on the ground in Iraq and on the home front in Texas, as wives and families await news for 48 grueling hours. Gina’s husband, Capt. Troy Denomy (played by Jason Ritter), leads the rescue convoys into the city following the dramatic ambush. Gina, meanwhile, waits at home with their newborn son to hear whether her husband is dead or alive.

National Geographic/Van Redin

“It was an incredibly emotional experience,” Bosworth told InStyle of stepping into Gina’s shoes. “She is someone that I was able to speak with if not daily, every other day. And if I wasn’t speaking to her, we were texting every day. And it made a tremendous difference in my experience and in my performance.”

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“She became the support for me because it was incredibly heavy material, and I think when you’re retelling a true event, there is a different type of responsibility as the storyteller. To be able to have someone who believes in you and is supportive and encouraging makes a huge difference in the entire process.”

National Geographic/Van Redin

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There’s another reason Bosworth’s role felt personal: Her late grandfather was also an army vet. “It’s interesting to think about him because he was so tough but also so kind. I think that when you’re born of that generation, that kind of military mentality, there are very few who were in touch with the psychological ramifications or their vulnerability or their emotional side to being at war,” she said. “He didn’t talk about it a lot, you know? I feel like my first experience in a more intimate way was this one. I really understood and have a deeper connection to what these men and women are going through today.”

Bosworth also met with both survivors and families of the fallen while filming, making the experience even more emotional. “We were there on the anniversary of the battle, on actually Black Sunday. So there were a lot of families that came, families of the fallen that came and soldiers who were there who came, and we stood for a moment of silence at Fort Hood. We shot at Fort Hood, which is where all the soldiers were deployed from. That was one of the most moving experiences of my life,” she told InStyle.

National Geographic/Van Redin

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“One of the wives whose husband had been killed I ended up speaking to for quite a while, and I ended up just holding her as she sobbed on the field of Fort Hood. Everyone was just crying and emotional. It was a transformative experience for me. I left with an enormous amount of gratitude.”

“These people, these are not statistics. They’re human beings, they’re families. These are brothers and sisters and wives and husbands and daughters and sons. It was essential to us to bring that type of humanity to the project, both away at war and also on the front lines at home," said Bosworth. "So that we could have an impact for the viewers and hopefully instill that kind of gratitude and understanding in people who watch the show.”

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