Thai cave rescue to be made into film

Producers of faith franchise God’s Not Dead to adapt movie version, though CEO says ‘it’s not necessary to make this a Christian film, just an inspirational one’

Only a handful of people witnessed first-hand the horror of the incarceration for more than a fortnight of 12 schoolboys and their football coach in waterlogged caves beneath a mountain in northern Thailand.

But the saga, whose developments were tracked religiously by millions around the world, is soon to be seen on the big screen, with plans already afoot for a movie version.

Pure Flix Entertainment, the faith-based production outfit behind the successful God’s Not Dead franchise, is teaming up with Kaos Entertainment on the project, estimated to have a budget of around $45m.

Pure Flix co-founder and CEO Michael Ellis, who is partly based in the country, has been at the rescue site gathering testimony for several days.

“The bravery and heroism I’ve witnessed is incredibly inspiring, so, yes, this will be a movie for us,” Scott told The Hollywood Reporter.

The resulting film, he said, would not be such an overt call to the cross as previous projects, and instead released under diffusion banner Pinnacle Peak, which is releasing a contemporary update of Little Women in September.

“It’s not necessary to make this a Christian film, just an inspirational one,” he said.

No cast, screenwriters or directors are yet attached. Scott is said to has spoken to some of the rescue divers and, through third parties, to family members of the trapped boys. His wife, he said, was a friend of Saman Kunan, the former Sergeant who died replenishing oxygen supplies on Friday.

“This isn’t just about a movie, it’s about honouring everybody involved, including the soldier who died,” he said.

The 33, an Antonio Banderas-starring film about the rescue of 33 Chilean miners who spent more than two months underground in 2010, met with a lukewarm reception on release in 2016 and failed to recoup its budget in the US.

To date there have been three God’s Not Dead films, the first of which took more than $60m in the US. Pure Flix’s 11 releases to date are mostly modern-day religious dramas, although their most recent, Samson, was a period piece. Inspired by the story of Samson in the Book of Judges, it featured Billy Zane, Rutger Hauer and currently has a 25% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


Catherine Shoard

The GuardianTramp

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