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BUENOS AIRES — The shooting of The 33, Patricia Riggen‘s film about the Chilean miners who were trapped in a mine for 70 days and rescued in 2010, kicked off last Wednesday in Copiapo, the original town where the accident took place.
Produced by Mike Medavoy and starring Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche, and Rodrigo Santoro, The 33 depicts the miners’ ordeal, which drew attention worldwide.
A large portion of the shoot had begun last January in the salt mines of Nemocon, Colombia. Now, the original camp “Esperanza” that family members set up outside the mine at the time of the accident is being re-created in Tierra Amarilla, in the Atacama region, to film the rescue scenes.
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“The story we’re telling is much bigger and mysterious than what it might seem at first,” said Banderas last week in a public meeting between the film’s cast and crew and President Sebastian Pinera at La Moneda, the country’s government house. The Spanish star plays the role of Mario Sepulveda, the group’s charismatic leader and first to be rescued, known in the country as “Super Mario.”
“We’re trying to become the mirror for your story, about the value of life in a confusing and violent world,” said Banderas, addressing the miners, and specifically to Sepulveda he continued: “You’ve told me you’ve seen Zorro 25 times. Zorro is a very brave hero, but he doesn’t exist. But you do exist, and your fellow miners exist. That is what we’re trying to reflect in the film: human beings.”
“I didn’t expect to meet the miners here,” said Binoche, who cheered with the crowds outside La Moneda. The French actress plays Maria Segovia, sister of one of the miners and known as “The Mayor” of the Esperanza camp. “She’s very symbolic — someone who won’t leave until her brother is rescued,” Binoche said to La Tercera newspaper.
The film is reportedly scheduled for release by the end of the year or possibly in next year’s edition of the Cannes film festival.
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