Ron Howard is a critically-acclaimed and Academy Award-winning director. Looking at his filmography, it’s hard to find something that he hasn’t done as his decades-long career spans multiple genres and mediums, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that his next upcoming project, “Thirteen Lives,” is a film based on a true story.
“Thirteen Lives” tells the story of the 12 junior association football (soccer) players and their assistant coach who were stuck in the Tham Luang caves in Thailand for over two weeks in the summer of 2018. Being involved with films based on true stories isn’t anything new to Howard, but “Thirteen Lives” differs from anything we’ve seen. Where “Apollo 13” or “Frost/Nixon” are true-story films, the subject matter of those films doesn’t come from another culture or language.
“I was aware of what was going on at the time,” Howard stated when talking about why he wanted to make this film. “The outcome was such a relief to the world, it was one of those tremendous moments. When I had a chance to read William Nicholson’s script, it not only delivered on everything I had recalled but it just suggested so much more. There were more levels and dimensions to the heroics and everyone involved.”
He continued, “I felt like I could make something really visceral and immediate, and do what a scripted version of a telling of a true story is supposed to do, which is make it more engaging and engage with the nervous system of the audience as well as give all of the information”
The film, which is set to receive a limited theatrical release before debuting on Amazon Prime Video, stars Colin Farrell, Joel Edgerton, Viggo Mortensen, Tom Bateman, and Paul Gleeson as part of the historic team who executed the rescue.
The cast talked about how extraordinary it was to be a part of the making of this film. Farrell, describing a dual sense of burden and honor, stated, “I’ve done various things in my career but to be part of something that… in a time where the world seems to be living under greater and greater division, was really about these different people from different nationalities, different cultural backgrounds coming together for a common purpose, and one that was so terrifying, it was just a great gift. And we felt that spirit of collaboration.”
Pattrakorn ‘Ploy’ Tungsupakul, who portrays a mother of a trapped child, stated that she doesn’t have children right now so she needed to do everything she could to understand the emotion one would be experiencing during such a horrifying moment. She explained that she spoke to her friends and family who are parents to understand motherhood and parenthood, as well as researched the parent’s reactions and emotions during that time as was displayed on the news.
Alongside the aforementioned actors, the film also stars Teeradon ‘James’ Supapunpinyo, Sahajak ‘Poo’ Boonthanakit, and Popetorn ‘Two’ Soonthornyanakij.
“Thirteen Lives” debuts exclusively in theaters for one week on July 29 before hitting Amazon Prime Video on August 5. Watch the trailer for the emotional story below.