Chilean Miners Sign With WME for Film, TV, More

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The Chilean miners who captivated the world’s attention last year have found their Hollywood home, signing with WME. Now, the process of selling the miners as a package deal begins.

WME will represent the official life rights of the 33 miners, who were rescued in October after a 69-day plight inside a caved-in copper and gold mine in Copiapó, Chile. The deal comes after lawyers for the miners visited Los Angeles earlier this year to meet with agents and shop the harrowing story.

The Hollywood Reporter has previously reported that the miners’ lawyers were planning to create a corporation that would collectively own book and movie rights to each miner’s story, positioning the group to potentially sell the whole package to a single media company for a lump sum. It’s an uncommon setup for the most unique of stories.

The rescue, which cost a reported $20 million, was carried out over less than 24 hours, starting Oct. 12 and concluding the next day. Most of the miners emerged from 2,000 feet below the earth’s surface in good health, with all expected to fully recover from their injuries and ailments.

The miners, who were rescued in front of worldwide news cameras, made a pact that they would not reveal what transpired during their time in the mine. THR has reported that under the terms of their agreement with each other, the miners are free to make public appearances -- as they have been doing -- and to be paid to give talks. But they are not to discuss what happened inside the mine, nor can they enter into side deals to profit from their personal stories.

The miners emerged from the San José copper-gold mine as instant celebrities. They were feted in their native country and went on a media tour that included stops in New York and Los Angeles in November. Miner Edison Pena Villarroel appeared on Late Show With David Letterman and the group toured Hollywood landmarks and visited Universal Studios.

The agency will represent the miners’ life rights in all areas, including television, film, books, commercials, theater and lectures; the deal includes complete access to the daily journal kept by one of the miners throughout the ordeal.

There has not yet been an authorized account of the miners’ story; however, it is expected that at least a handful of unauthorized accounts of the saga will soon be released. For example, The 33 of San Jose, a Spanish film about the miners’ ordeal was rushed into the American Film Market in November in the aftermath of the rescue. And at least one account of the ordeal has already hit the marketplace. 33 Men: Inside the Miraculous Survival and Dramatic Rescue of the Chilean Miners, a book by The Guardian contributor Jonathan Franklin, was released Feb. 14 by G.P. Putnam's Sons.

A six or possibly seven-figure book deal for the miners should be a slam-dunk, as would a film project, experts have said.

The miners are also represented in the U.S. by Arent Fox Llp. and in their home country by Chilean law firm Carey y Cía and attorney Remberto Valdés.

The 33 miners include the aforementioned Villarroel, Alex Vega Salazar, Ariel Ticona Yanez, Carlos Andres Bugueno Alfaro, Carlos Mamani Soliz, Carlos Barrios Contreras, Claudio Acuna Cortes, Claudio David Yanez Lagos, Daniel Herrera Campos, Dario Segovia Rojo, Edison Pena Villarroel, Esteban Alfonso Rojas Carrizo, Florencio Antonio Avalos Silva, Franklin Lobos Ramirez, Jorge Hernan Galleguillos Orellana, Jose Henriquez Gonzalez, Jose Ojeda Vidal, Juan Carlos Aguilar Gaete, Juan Andres Illanes Palma, Jimmy Sanchez Lagues, Luis Alberto Urzua Iribarren, Mario Gomez Heredia, Mario Sepulveda Espinace, Omar Alejandro Reygadas Rojas, Osman Isidro Araya Araya, Pablo Amadeos Rojas Villacorta, Pedro Cortez Contreras, Raul Bustos Ibanez, Renan Anselmo Avalos Silva, Richard Villarroel Godoy, Samuel Dionisio Avalos Acuna, Victor Antonio Segovia Rojas, Victor Zamora Bugueno and Yonni Barrios Rojas.   

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