The incredible rescue of 12 young soccer athletes and their trainer from a flood-ravaged cave located in Thailand in the year 2018 was a thrilling incident, which was previously covered in a documentary that won awards and now receiving the big screen dramatic treatment from Ron Howard.
“Thirteen Lives” hits theaters in North America on July 29 and the Oscar-winning Howard who cast the film with a mix of bankable actors and untested talents in the film — says that making”Thirteen Lives” was an “exciting challenge.”
He described his latest film as film a “very extreme version of my favorite kinds of films — you know, the kinds of films that prove that remarkable outcomes are not the stuff of fiction, that when people pull together, incredible things can happen.”
“Thirteen Lives” — which stars Joel Edgerton, Colin Farrell, and Viggo Mortensen — tells the tale of the incredible rescue of twelve boys as well as their trainer who, in June of 2018 were trapped in the Tham Luang cave for more than two weeks.
Re-creating the circumstances of the violent incident was physically and psychologically difficult for the participants.
Farrell who plays British cavern diver John Volanthen said during a screening of the trailer of the film the experience was “terrifying” to film most of the time in water and under the supervision of a professional.
It wasn’t helping the fact that Farrell according to his own admission “can’t really swim.”
“It’s a different world beneath the surface of the water,” the Irish actor told. “Water’s wet, no matter how much control you have or don’t have.”
The dramatic rescue has already been the focus of the 2021 National Geographic documentary “The Rescue,” which included previously unreleased footage gathered directly from Thai militaries after two decades of difficult negotiations.
Howard tried to dig more deeply into the drama of his own life, and highlight the hard work of those who were willing to help others, at the risk of their lives.
“It was this ongoing process of… creating the environment and the effort, and then attaching the humanity to it,” the director explained. “There are all kinds of, many brands of heroism that are demonstrated through the movie.”
He also stressed the need to accurately portray the population of Chiang Rai, Thailand’s northern province. Chiang Rai — the teens in the film are performed by actors from the Chiang Rai region, to ensure that the spoken language is authentic.
“It’s not just an accent — it’s also phrasing,” explained Howard who collaborated alongside the film’s co-producer Vorakorn “Billy” Ruetaivanichkul, to help the boys comprehend the mindset of the people who were in a bind.
“I asked them… imagine that you are in a tight space and imagine that you have a lack of food and water for a few days already, and you are unlikely to get out very soon,” Ruetaivanichkul told.
Mortensen pointed out Mortensen emphasized the “team-oriented effort” of making the film, noting it was a reflection of the relationships among the rescuers in real life who the actors were portraying.
On his own, Farrell spoke about the “responsibility to honor the lives that were passed and not just the spirit of those who survived the rescue,” noting that two individuals connected to the cave rescue passed away.
“It was a burden but an honor, and we were really aware of it,” he stated.
“Thirteen Lives” will be accessible in August to stream through Amazon Prime after its cinematic release.