Thirteen Lives, which chronicles the events of the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue, is being released in select cinemas today (July 29, 2022), by United Artists Releasing, before streaming on Prime Video on August 5. The movie is directed and produced by Ron Howard.
The rescue mission in Thailand where a group of experienced cave divers miraculously retrieved a group of young boys and their soccer coach which were trapped in the system of underground caves as they became flooded, should be well known to readers of this magazine as we covered it extensively at the time.
The highly dramatic event, which draws many comparisons to the Apollo 13 incident in the 1970s, held the whole world captivated in suspense for days on end while rescuers tried to find ways to do the seemingly impossible: To get the trapped boys and their coach out alive through long, tight and meandering passages that were now flooded. As we all now know, the team successfully accomplished their heroic feat.
The movie stars the following actors playing the cave divers which were already well-known and highly respected members of the international technical diving community before their heroic and ultimately rescue efforts:
- Viggo Mortensen as Richard Stanton
- Colin Farrell as John Volanthen
- Joel Edgerton as Richard Harris, an anaesthetist
- Tom Bateman as Chris Jewell
In speaking to The Guardian, Richard Stanton recalls the day he got a phone call from the movie's director Ron Howard, who had good news: He had cast someone who had been in Lord of the Rings to play Stanton in his new movie, Thirteen Lives.
Stanton’s mind raced, he told The Guardian: Ian McKellen? Andy Serkis? Probably not Cate Blanchett. “When I found out it was Viggo Mortensen, I was very pleased,” says Stanton, eyes glinting. “I’d never really thought who would play me in a film, but he’d be up there.”