Director Ron Howard Speaks to Robert Littal About The Challenges of Shooting “Thirteen Lives” a Movie About The Tham Luang Cave Rescue – BlackSportsOnline
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Director Ron Howard Speaks to Robert Littal About The Challenges of Shooting “Thirteen Lives” a Movie About The Tham Luang Cave Rescue

If you aren’t familiar with the Tham Luang Cave Rescue, here is a quick refresher.

It was an amazing and heroic rescue mission, one that we might never see the likes of again.

In June and July 2018, a junior association football team was rescued from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand. Twelve members of the team, aged eleven to sixteen, and their 25-year-old assistant coach entered the cave on 23 June after a football practice session. Shortly afterwards, heavy rainfall partially flooded the cave system, blocking their way out and trapping them deep within.

Efforts to locate the group were hampered by rising water levels and strong currents, and no contact was made for nearly two weeks. The cave rescue effort expanded into a massive operation amid intense worldwide public interest and involving international rescue teams. On 2 July, after advancing through narrow passages and muddy waters, British divers John Volanthen and Richard Stanton found the group alive on an elevated rock about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the cave mouth. Rescue organisers discussed various options for extracting the group, including whether to teach them basic underwater diving skills to enable their early rescue, to wait until a new entrance to the cave was found or drilled, or to wait for the floodwaters to subside by the end of the monsoon season months later. After days of pumping water from the cave system and a respite from rain, the rescue teams hastened to get the group out of the cave before the next monsoon rain, which was expected to bring additional downpours and was predicted to start around 11 July.

Between 8 and 10 July, all twelve boys and their coach were rescued from the cave by an international team.

The rescue effort involved more than 10,000 people, including more than 100 divers, scores of rescue workers, representatives from about 100 governmental agencies, 900 police officers, and 2,000 soldiers. Ten police helicopters, seven ambulances, more than 700 diving cylinders, and the pumping of more than a billion litres of water from the caves were required.

Legendary Director Ron Howard took on the challenge of bringing this amazing story to the big screen and Prime Video streaming service, and let me tell you, he delivers big time.

The moment you see the kids and their coach entered the cave’s dark corners, your anxiety rises because you know what will happen next.

You get a sense of claustrophobia just watching the movie, and by the time the divers go in, that sense is just heightened.

Howard gives you a sense of how dangerous it is to dive into a cave submerged in water. Several of the dives took over six hours to complete, and that was just one way. The movie really does convey the amount of stress these divers were under while trying to rescue the boys.

The boys and the coach himself are portrayed as much as heroes as the divers. To be able to survive in a cave with very little food, water, and oxygen supply for almost three weeks is impressive.

I won’t spoil how they were rescued because it was ingenious but very controversial at the time.

A fantastic movie that I recommend you see as soon as you can. It is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video starting August 5th, 2022.

9 out of 10 BSO stars.