Thirteen Lives, starring (L to R) Colin Farrell, Paul Gleeson and Thira Chutikul
Thirteen Lives, starring (L to R) Colin Farrell, Paul Gleeson and Thira Chutikul, tells the story of the astonishing rescue (Picture: AP)

The movie Thirteen Lives, which is based on the incredible 2018 rescue of 13 children from a cave in Thailand, almost certainly would have failed to do justice to the true events, but the cast and crew went above and beyond to make it work (although of course it was nothing compared to what the boys and their coach went through).

When a youth association football team and their 25-year-old coach became stranded when heavy rains partially flooded the cave system, it was an incident that horrified and enthralled the entire world.

Thankfully, they were all retrieved after two weeks and a rescue operation involving more than 10,000 people.

Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, and Joel Edgerton star in the new movie, directed by Ron Howard, and the cast has talked about how keen they were to present the narrative effectively.

Thira Chutiku (L) and Viggo Mortensen in Thirteen Lives
Thira Chutiku (L) and Viggo Mortensen in Thirteen Lives (Picture: AP)

Rick Stanton, who Viggo portrays in the new movie and who played a crucial role in the rescue effort, assisted in instructing the actor on how to actually cave dive.

Before Stanton was hired as a technical advisor for the production, the two of them talked for hours over Zoom.
In reality, Viggos life might have been saved by some of his training.

The valve of one of his oxygen tanks shut off, according to actor told People , when he passed through a tight space on stage.

I suddenly found myself unable to breathe, he remembered. It just took a few seconds, but it seemed like a long time. I was scared.
Fortunately, Viggo remembered Rick advising him to change the mouthpiece and breathe through his second tank, which he was able to do right away.

Calculating the precise movements of the rescuers

John Volanthen, Chris Jewell, Josh Bratchley, Connor Roe and Rick Stanton
Heroes John Volanthen, Chris Jewell, Josh Bratchley, Connor Roe and Rick Stanton at the Thirteen Lives premiere (Picture: Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Viggo and Colin, who plays John Volanthen, another of the real-life divers, had to master more than simply cave diving.
Since playing a real person requires research, the actors had to imitate Rick and John’s natural movements, including their swimming style.

Howard told The Hollywood Reporter : Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrell were there with us during preparation and filming, but the other guys also trained with them and imitated their techniques.

Due to the fact that they had already completed the necessary work, they volunteered to work overtime and on the weekends as well. As a result, they were able to learn the cave diving techniques and the personalities of the men they were portraying during the two weeks that they spent in the water with them every day.

Construction of an exact replica of the cave system

Thirteen Lives
The caves were actually recreated on set (Picture: AP)

The Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand became a prison for the youngsters and their coach.

The cave had to be precisely recreated because it would have been impossible to film in a natural cave system.

The five tanks that Howard and his team built are different. To mimic the actual situation, each of them had their own cave and tunnel network.

Even though they were recreations, the actors still found the situation to be unsettling, particularly Colin, who admitted to experiencing panic attacks while filming because he is not a very strong swimmer.

Raymond Phathanavirangoon
Raymond was consulted on the incorporation of Thai culture (Picture: Steve Granitz/FilmMagic)

Howard has admitted that without Raymond Phathanavirangoon’s assistance, he would not have been able to portray Thai culture in an accurate manner.
According to Bloomberg , he was advised on a variety of topics, including the use of prayer and regional accents.
According to Raymond, a significant chunk of the movie is in Thai, which is unusual for a Hollywood production.
We laboriously worked to make the accents correct. You hardly ever hear anyone speaking with a Northern accent, not even in Thai cinema.
Right now, Thirteen Lives may be watched on Prime Video.
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MORE: Colin Farrell and the cast of Thirteen Lives are joined at the premiere by British Thai cave rescue heroes
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