Chilean Miners' Story Headed to Big Screen as Producer Mike Medavoy Nabs Rights

6:24 PM PST 07/24/2011 by Kimberly Nordyke
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

"Motorcycle Diaries" writer Jose Rivera is set to adapt the tale of the 33 mine workers who were trapped underground for 69 days.

The Chilean miners are one step closer to seeing their story told on the big screen.

Producer Mike Medavoy has acquired rights to the story of the 33 mine workers who were trapped underground for 69 days in the fall and rescued in front of worldwide news cameras.

Oscar-nominated screenwriter Jose Rivera (Motorcycle Diaries) will adapt the movie, which is scheduled to go into production next year.

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The movie will recount the events surrounding the mine's collapse and the subsequent rescue efforts, which culminated in the retrieval of all 33 who had been trapped half a mile beneath the surface.

Medavoy and Edward McGurn, Medavoy’s vp at Phoenix Pictures, will produce through Medavoy’s recently formed Half Circle banner.  Chilean entrepreneurs Carlos Eugenio Lavín, a longtime friend of Medavoy, and Leopoldo Enriquez, his longtime associate, will executive produce. 

Medavoy actually lived in Chile for 10 years in his youth.

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 “Like millions of people around the world, I was completely engrossed watching the rescue at Copiapo," Medavoy said. "At its heart, this is a story about the triumph of the human spirit and a testament to the courage and perseverance of the Chilean people.  I can't think of a better story than this one to bring to the screen."

The miners made a pact that they would not reveal what transpired during their time in the mine. While there was some fraying as they were approached with cash offers in the aftermath of the rescue, Chile-based attorney Guillermo Carey previousy told THR that the 33 men have agreed to keep the key details of their ordeal secret until a buyer was found.

As THR first reported, the miners began shopping their pitch earlier this year.

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Said miner Juan Andres Illanes: “One year after the collapse of the mine, we consider this to be a great step towards the realization of a film based on our experience in the mine.  This is the only official and authorized film about what we lived in the San José mine.  Much of our story has never been told.”

An official book also is in the works from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Hector Tobar.

Oscar-nominated Medavoy recently produced Shutter Island and Black Swan.

Phoenix next goes into production on What to Expect When You're Expecting, an ensemble film that includes Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez, for Lionsgate.

The miners are repped by WME and the law firm of Arent Fox in the United States and Carey y Cía in Chile. Rivera is repped by ICM.

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