The amazing rescue of 12 boys and their football coach from a flooded cave in Thailand, which mesmerized the world last summer, will be turned into a mini-series by Jon Chu, who directed the wildly popular Crazy Rich Asians movie, along with Netflix, Thai director Nattawut “Baz” Poonpiriya, and SK Global Entertainment.
Singapore and US-based SK Global Entertainment was also the producer of Crazy Rich Asians.
According to SK Global and streaming giant Netflix, they were granted the rights by 13 Thumluang Co. Ltd., which represents the young men, “to tell the true story of how the 12 boys and their soccer coach were rescued after being trapped for two weeks inside the flooded Tham Luang caves near Chiang Mai, Thailand, during the summer of 2018.”
Mr Chu and Mr Poonpiriya will be directing the mini-series. It will be produced by John Penotti, co-CEO of SK Global, Mr Chu, and Lance Johnson, the prodding partner of Mr Chu under the Electric Somewhere Company banner. The executive producer for the mini-series is Starlight Culture Entertainment.
The agreement to make the mini-series was signed on April 30, Tuesday, at the Culture Ministry in Bangkok, according to a report from Bloomberg. The report also says that while details pertaining to finances have not been revealed, local reports say each member of the football team will be receiving million baht ($94,000) for the rights.
The twelve boys, ages 11 to 16, along with their 25-year-old coach, were trapped in Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai Province, northern Thailand. On June 23, 2018, they went exploring in the cave after football practice, and heavy rains drove them deeper inside it, eventually causing floods that trapped the young men.
It took a team of international rescuers to get the young men out of the cave in a cliffhanger that left the world in suspense for more than two weeks. The boys and their coach finally made it out alive by July 10, just before the next monsoon rains were expected to fall. However, Saman Kunan, a 37-year-old former Thai Navy SEAL, died during the perilous rescue operations.
Mr Chu said, “Like the rest of the world, we were riveted by the news of the Thai cave rescue. With the entire globe watching, this tragic human drama transformed into a beautiful, inspirational story of human beings saving other human beings. Not only did this show the best of the human spirit overcoming even the worst of circumstances, it proved that we are stronger when we work together.”
According to Mr Poonpiriya: “This is an opportunity for me as a filmmaker – and also a Thai citizen – to write a thank-you letter to the rest of the world.”
Erika North, director of international originals at Netflix, has this to say about the project: “We are immensely proud to be able to support the retelling of the incredible story of the Tham Luang cave rescue. The story combines so many unique local and universal themes, which connected people from all walks of life, from all around the world. Thailand is a very important country for Netflix, and we are looking forward to bringing this inspiring local but globally resonant story of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to life, once again, for global audiences.”
“With our partners, SK Global Entertainment is honoured to bring to global audiences this story which captivated the world. Celebrating the heroes and survivors of the Thai cave rescue mission is a true privilege, and we are humbled to have succeeded in securing these rights,” said SK Global’s John Penotti. /TISG
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