(CNN)He was the subject of an iconic photograph: Jeff Bauman, ashen and dazed, severely wounded in the 2013 Boston marathon bombing, rushed away in a wheelchair after losing his legs. Now the new film "Stronger," which is based on Bauman's memoir, explores his recovery in the aftermath of the terror attack.
Meet the man who inspired Jake Gyllenhaal's 'Stronger'
"I don't necessarily want to be the center of attention in this movie. I want people to relate to my family, and to just getting through something -- getting through loss in general," Bauman told CNN's Jake Tapper in a recent interview for The Lead. "Everyone deals with loss. In the movie, I deal with the loss of my legs and adjusting and trying to become a new person, essentially."
Bauman said he struggled with the "Boston Strong" slogan that swept the city in the wake of the attack. At one point during the film, his character questions aloud: "I'm a hero for standing there and getting my legs blown off?"
But Bauman said the encouragement he received from others throughout his recovery changed that.
"I could just feel the connection through all the positivity that was being sent my way. It was really magical, and it forced me to get up and get moving," Bauman explained.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Bauman in "Stronger." The actor told CNN that he prepped for the role by spending time with Bauman and his caregivers.
"I knew that I would never get close to understanding the pain that he had gone through, but I knew that I would try to put as much as I could into it to understand," Gyllenhaal said.
Bauman said it was "surreal" having an actor play him, but Gyllenhaal "did a great job."
Most importantly, Bauman said, his mother likes the actor.
When Tapper asked Gyllenhaal if he was set to star in the next superhero blockbuster, Gyllenhaal smiled and pointed to Bauman.
"I think I already played one."