The race is on in Hollywood to secure the film rights to the story of a youth soccer team that was trapped for 18 days in a flooded cave in Thailand.
CGTN’s May Lee reports on the challenges facing the producer who wins the right to tell this Asian survival story.
The real life drama that played out for weeks in Thailand had the world on the edge of its seat and now, Hollywood is scrambling bring the miraculous tale to the big screen. At least two production companies are vying for the rights from Thailand’s government, the rescuers and survivors. Pure Flix Entertainment, a faith based company, was the first to throw its hat into the ring. Its CEO was in Thailand during the rescue operation and posted his intentions on Twitter.
“We’re just kinda here witnessing the events, gathering some contacts and everything to really tell a story about an international effort, the entire world coming together to save 13 kids trapped in this Thai cave,” said Pure Flix CEO Michael Scott.
Also in the mix is Chinese American director Jon Chu and Ivanhoe pictures. Chu posted an impassioned tweet about the need to make a movie that’s accurate on all fronts. He wrote “I refuse to let Hollywood #whitewashout the Thai Cave rescue story! No way. Not on our watch. That won’t happen or we’ll give them hell. There’s a beautiful story abt human beings saving other human beings. So anyone thinking abt the story better approach it right & respectfully.” Film critic Tim Cogshell isn’t at all surprised by Hollywood’s enthusiasm.
“This certainly has all the elements that you would think that would make an excellent Hollywood feature,” said Cogshell. “The most important element that it has, is that they save all the kids, and that’s the thing that audiences love to see when they go see these movies.”
Award winning producer, Mike Medavoy whose many credits include the box office hits, “Apocalypse Now” and “Silence of the Lambs”, is very familiar with bringing survival stories to the theater. Medavoy produced “The 33”, the story of 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days. Medavoy said the key to a good survival movie is tension.
“How do you keep the tension going because you know what the result is,” said Medavoy. “How do you get to know the people down there, how do you get to know the people that went after them. You’ve got, I would say, 95 minutes to tell the story so you better get it right.”
There are no details yet as to when the films on the Thailand cave rescue will be coming out, but industry experts say the sooner the better. The Discovery Channel didn’t waste anytime. It fast-tracked a documentary that aired just days after the rescue ended. And there will likely be books coming our way as well with different perspectives on the incredible survivors and the heroes who saved them.