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Viggo Mortensen Details Thirteen Lives’ Challenging Diving Scenes

During an interview with ComingSoon, Thirteen Lives star Viggo Mortensen spoke about how difficult it was to film underwater to properly represent the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue.

RELATED: Thirteen Lives Interview: Viggo Mortensen & Joel Edgerton on Recreating Real-Life Heroics

When asked about the challenges that come with filming underwater, Mortensen mentioned that not only are there positive aspects to it, but scarier aspects as well:

“You’re under there. It’s like I’m in my own … I’m free,” said Mortensen. “There was something nice about that, but the flip side is that it’s scary because you are on your own. Even though there are safety divers nearby, things can go wrong quickly underwater. So be careful, remember your training, look out for each other, and so forth.”

Mortensen then detailed the training process, which was composed of a series of stages that gradually escalated in difficulty.

“We imagined that it was going to be difficult to learn the things we had to learn, but we had no idea really how difficult it was going to be overall,” Mortensen elaborated. “We did it in stages. First, we learned in this big pool with no nothing. No caves, no narrow, no current. Then we went through one section for about a week and it was tricky and, we thought, pretty difficult. And the next time it was harder. The degree of difficulty kept going up from week to week to week. Longer, sections, narrower sections, stronger current, stalactites, stalagmites … then okay, now you’re transporting a real human being. Don’t bump their head, don’t hit their mask, because if it fills with water, they’ll drown instantly.”

Mortensen feels that the challenge was worth it, however, as he felt honored to portray the real rescuers in Thirteen Lives.

“I think at the beginning we wouldn’t have been able to do it. It was well-planned. We were well-trained, but you had to suck it up and do it. It was a great experience and really a sense of accomplishment and an honor to represent these people who really did the thing.”

RELATED: Interview: Ron Howard & Raymond Phathanavirangoon on Thirteen Lives

“A rescue mission is assembled in Thailand where a group of young boys and their soccer coach are trapped in a system of underground caves that are flooding,” reads the official synopsis for Thirteen Lives. The film is currently out in select theaters and will begin streaming on Prime Video on August 5.


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