The Cave, the first of several films about the sensational and perilous mission in 2018 to find and extract the boys of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach from deep inside a vast labyrinth, enters general release in the country where their ordeal took place.
The film was previewed at the Busan, Vancouver and London film festivals in October.
Flooding from heavy rain trapped coach Ekkapol Chantawong and the boys in Tham Luang Cave in the northern province of Chiang Rai, an estimated mile from the entrance, on Jun 23, 2018. Their planned afternoon excursion turned into a two-week nightmare as their food, water and light ran out. They were found by two British divers and brought out by an international crew of cave divers and Thai navy SEALs. The boys, who were given anti-anxiety medication, had to endure long stretches underwater. They saw daylight again on Jul 10. Some 10,000 people participated in the rescue. One rescuer died, but all the boys and their coach survived.
Filmmakers raced to acquire rights to tell the story even before the rescue concluded. Bangkok-based company DeWarrenne Productions began assembling its cast and choosing locations in real Thai caves on the heels of the rescue. Their film, The Cave, directed by Thai-born, British-raised filmmaker Tom Waller, recreates the drama from the perspective of the mission’s many unsung heroes.
“It was a Thai emergency, but the whole world tuned in and tried to help,” Waller told the Hollywood Reporter at the start of the project. “Every character just speaks the language they would have during the rescue – we have some northern Thai dialect, Chinese, English, pigeon English and so on.”
The Cave has beaten productions by much bigger entities to the market. The video streaming giant Netflix and the production house that made the film Crazy Rich Asians, SK Global Entertainment, plans a big-budget production. Universal Pictures is reported to be working on a movie featuring the Wild Boars coach and players, and other key figures in the drama. National Geographic plans a documentary about the story.
Date written/update: 2019-10-06