'Crazy Rich Asians' Director Eyes Thai Cave Rescue Movie

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Jon M. Chu

Jon M. Chu and Ivanhoe Pictures become the second Hollywood production group looking to adapt the inspirational story that captured the world's attention for the big screen.

With the Thai cave rescue still fresh in people's minds, Hollywood is steaming ahead with big-screen adaptations of the dramatic story, with two declared projects now in development. 

A day after faith-based production company Pure Flix revealed its project, Ivanhoe Pictures president John Penotti announced Wednesday that the company was in talks with Thailand's Navy and government to develop a movie based on the rescue which saw an international team of divers, cavers and special forces work with Thai authorities to reach a group of 12 boys and their coach trapped in a cave in Northern Thailand. 

The soccer team's ordeal began June 23 when rising water trapped them inside a cave, and the last of the dozen boys and one coach were rescued on Tuesday after a harrowing 18 days that sparked global media interest. 

Ivanhoe is reteaming with Crazy Rich Asians helmer Jon M. Chu on the potential film. Chu is set to direct and took to Twitter on Wednesday confirming the project and also vowing to not let Hollywood whitewash the story.

"I refuse to let Hollywood #whitewashout the Thai Cave rescue story! No way. Not on our watch. That won’t happen or we’ll give them hell. There’s a beautiful story abt human beings saving other human beings. So anyone thinking abt the story better approach it right & respectfully,” the filmmaker tweeted.

Pure Flix CEO Michael Scott on Tuesday told The Hollywood Reporter that his studio's film project would not be necessarily faith-based and would carry a budget between $30 million and $60 million and be released under the more mainstream banner Pinnacle Peak. Scott said he was lining up screenwriters in the next few weeks and that the pic will be co-produced by Adam Smith of Kaos Entertainment. 

As well as Crazy Rich Asians, which is slated to hit theaters on Aug. 15, Ivanhoe, the local-language division of SK Global, has the three-part Indian thriller Ghoul set to debut Aug. 24 on Netflix.

Chu is repped by UTA and Artists First. 

Variety was first to report the news of the Ivanhoe project. 

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