Immediately following the 18-day ordeal of a boys soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand, Hollywood already has a movie in the works based on the daring rescue mission. Just a day after all 12 boys and their coach were rescued, Pure Flix Entertainment has announced their plans to adapt the story.
On June 23, 2018, 12 members of a junior soccer team (all between the ages of 11 and 16), as well as their 25-year-old coach, became trapped in Thailand's Tham Luang cave. The Wild Boars teammates and their coach had reportedly explored the cave for fun, but were incapable of returning to the cave's exit when heavy rain flooded their way out. Running out of oxygen, and with no food or fresh water, the boys and their coach relied on a rescue mission comprised of a team of Thai Navy SEALS. And after 18 days, the rescue mission turned out to be a success. Now, Pure Flix Entertainment (the studio behind the God's Not Dead film series) is turning the story into a feature-length movie.
Just a day after the boys and their coach were rescued, Pure Flix CEO and co-founder Michael Scott told THR that his studio already has a movie based on the rescue mission in the works. A temporary resident of Thailand, Scott was present during the rescue, personally witnessing the events unfold as well as speaking with some of the divers and relatives of the boys. He explained that the idea for a movie - which he plans on shooting in Thailand - was inspired by the "bravery and heroism" he witnessed, but noted that the movie will not necessarily be "a Christian film, just an inspirational one." He also added that he will more than likely release the movie under the studio's new mainstream banner Pinnacle Peak. He said:
"This was truly a team effort involving Brits, Aussies, Americans and Thais, and the divers told us incredible stories. They had less than five meters' visibility, fought harsh currents and used a buddy system of two divers for each boy rescued. It was a monumental effort."
Scott announced that the movie already has a budget that will run between $30 and $60 million, will be co-produced by Kaos Entertainment's Adam Smith, and is currently seeking out potential screenwriters. He also explained that, aside from the central rescue mission and survivors, the film will also honor former Navy SEAL diver Saman Gunan who died during the mission, saying, "This isn't just about a movie, it's about honoring everybody involved, including the soldier who died." However, Scott did not mention whether or not the movie will feature SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who worked alongside his own team of engineers to construct a miniaturized submarine in order to help aid in the rescue.
Though movies based on recent events are hardly unprecedented, Scott's incredibly quick turnaround isn't especially usual. To compare the turnaround with other true-life adaptations, Patricia Riggen's The 33 (based on the trapped miners in Chile) was released five years after the events. Both Paul Greengrass' United 93 and Oliver Stone's World Trade Center (based on the US terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001) also released five years after their respective events, with Michael Bay's 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi releasing four year after its source events. That said, it was only a matter of time before an adaptation was developed.