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Colin Farrell and Mortensen play divers John Volanthen and Richard Stanton, respectively. The two men were part of the 2018 rescue mission that found all 13 people alive about 2.5 miles from the cave mouth. Various options for extracting the group were discussed, but as the rain began to pick up, the rescue team decided to extract the boys one by one by rendering them unconscious and swimming through the tunnels with them. Jason Mallinson (played by Paul Gleeson in the film), Chris Jewell (Tom Bateman), Richard Harris (Joel Edgerton) and Craig Challen were also part of the mission.
Between July 8 and 10, all of the boys were rescued from the cave. The rescue effort involved more than 10,000 people from all around the world. One Royal Thai Navy SEAL died of asphyxiation during an attempted rescue on July 6. In December 2019, another Thai Navy SEAL died of a blood infection contracted during the rescue operation.
Howard, who directed the film, told The Hollywood Reporter in May that Farrell and Mortensen trained with the actual divers from the mission in different tanks filled with replicas of the intricate cave system.
“It was definitely a feat — it reminded me, not as dangerous as the real analog fires in Backdraft, but sort of as intricate and meticulous to try to get,” Howard said. “It also reminded me a little of our actual weightless filming in Apollo 13 where we went up in the KC-135, which is called the vomit comet — what astronauts use to train and scientists used to test weightlessness and its effects on all kinds of things. And we filmed all the master shots for the Apollo 13 weightlessness in the capsule on that KC-135. So this was another one of those kinds of physical filmmaking challenges.”
Thirteen Lives is set for a limited theatrical release on July 29 before it streams on Amazon Prime Video on August 5.
Watch the trailer below.
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