Robert Littal Speaks to Colin Farrell About His Portrayal of John Volanthen in The Ron Howard Directed “Thirteen Lives” – BlackSportsOnline
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Robert Littal Speaks to Colin Farrell About His Portrayal of John Volanthen in The Ron Howard Directed “Thirteen Lives”

One of the first things you experience when you watch the Ron Howard-directed film “Thirteen Lives” is a sense of claustrophobia.

It feels like you can’t take a breath and are also enclosed in the cave with the divers. I had a little shortness of breath until a scene came where they were out of the cave. When I spoke to Colin Farrell about what it was like being in such close quarters and trying to mimic a professional cave diver like John Volanthen, he admitted it wasn’t fun at all.

While everything was made on set, they used many of the actual schematics of the Tham Luang caves to make things look as authentic as possible, meaning there were times that Farrell was underwater and could not see the surface.

“Terrifying in a word. Terrifying,” Farrell said in a new interview with Entertainment Tonight. “It really was. It was scary. I’m not a great swimmer anyway, not that we were swimming, not that we were treading water, we had to stay on the surface, but they built a really impressive network of caves, it was about four or five different caves that were based on the topography of the caves, the Tham Luang caves in Thailand, and they filled them full of water, and we’d go down and there was no up.”

“There’s a lot to be said for being able to look up in water and see the surface,” he said. “So when you can’t and there’s actually a ceiling over your head, and there’s no air at all, it just wreaks havoc on my mind.”

I had panic attacks underwater, that’s a new experience. A panic attack underwater is a new experience for me.”

He continued: “I mean, at the end of the day, we did have amazing safety divers and a team of safety divers, but I asked one of the safety divers on one of the days we were—he spends a lot of time in the tanks floating and talking, when we weren’t shooting I said, ‘How many films have you done,’ and the safety diver said, ‘About twenty underwater films.’ I said, what was the most dangerous—and you know where this is going—they went, ‘This one.’

I asked Farrell if he would ever do a movie again that required him to be underwater as much as he was on Thirteen Lives, and let’s say don’t expect to see Farrell by any caves or oceans any time soon.

“Thirteen Lives” is now playing in select theaters and is available to stream on Amazon Prime starting Friday, August 5.

You can read my full review of the movie here, where I gave it 9 out of 10 BSO stars.