Free Solo directing duo to helm Universal’s adaptation of Thai cave rescue story
After more than a year since it was reported that Universal Pictures is developing a film about the 2018 Thailand cave rescue story, Deadline now brings word that Academy Award-winning filmmaking duo Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin have signed on to helm the studio’s film adaptation which is currently being penned by Midway scribe Wes Tooke. This project will mark Vasarhelyi and Chin’s first narrative feature.
The talented married couple are best known for directing the 2018 documentary film Free Solo which received critical acclaimed and numerous awards including an Oscar for Best Feature Documentary and six Emmy Awards for Outstanding Director.
The untitled feature will likely follow the intense and difficult rescue mission of the Wild Boars soccer team, after 12 Thai boys aged 11-16 and their coach got unfortunately trapped in the Tham Luang Cave in Thailand last June 23, 2018. They managed to survive for 18 long days before being miraculously rescued by a brave group of international divers. The whole rescue mission of the boys was reported and televised across the world which led to millions of people anticipating news updates regarding the rescue.
In 2018, Universal Pictures had successfully acquired the life rights of the main people who were involved in the rescue mission including the divers, Dr, Richard Harris and Dr. Craig Challen, and 13 survivors consisting of the Wild Boar soccer team and their Coach Aekkaphol Chantawong.
Michael De Luca will executive produce for his eponymous production company with Dana Brunetti and Matt DelPiano are also producing through their Cavalry Media banner. De Luca and Brunetti’s collaborations have always resulted in successful projects. They have worked together in movies such as Fifty Shades of Grey series, Academy-nominated film Captain Phillips and the award-winning film The Social Network.
Currently, there are also two other projects about the 2018 Thailand cave rescue story including Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu ‘s adaptation which was picked up by Netflix last year; and De Warrenne Pictures’ adaptation with British director Tom Waller set to direct.
(Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)