Second Thai cave rescue film in the works as director rails at 'whitewash'

‘We must tell our own stories’ says Jon Chu in response to Tuesday’s announcement by faith-based Pure Flix films

A rival film about the Thai cave rescue has been announced, a day after a first project was revealed – and just two days after the final child and coach were hauled to safety following more than a fortnight underground.

The second movie will be directed by Jon Chu, whose credits include four Step Up movies, Now You See Me 2 and the acclaimed forthcoming comedy Crazy Rich Asians. The announcement came in the form of a tweet by Chu denigrating the proposed film by Pure Flix, the faith-based production outfit that promised an “inspirational” film.

“I refuse to let Hollywood #whitewashout the Thai Cave rescue story!” wrote Chu. “No way. Not on our watch. That won’t happen or we’ll give them hell. There’s a beautiful story abt human beings saving other human beings. So anyone thinking abt the story better approach it right & respectfully.”

In subsequent tweets, the director restated his commitment to an ethnically accurate film, saying “we must tell our stories especially the important ones so history doesn’t get it wrong. This one is too important 2 let others dictate who the real heroes are.”

He continued: “We have the power to not only MAKE history but be the historians that RECORD it too. So that it’s told correctly and respectfully. Couldn’t just sit here watching how others would ‘interpret’ this important story.”

“Those days of letting it happen are over. Never again. We have arrived. And we aren’t playing.”

I refuse to let Hollywood #whitewashout the Thai Cave rescue story! No way. Not on our watch. That won’t happen or we’ll give them hell. There’s a beautiful story abt human beings saving other human beings. So anyone thinking abt the story better approach it right & respectfully.

— Jon M. Chu (@jonmchu) July 11, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians, touted as one of the major comedies of the summer, was also backed by the US-based Asian film investment group Ivanhoe Pictures, which won the rights to Kevin Kwan’s novel after a major bidding war. Chu’s pitch to direct involved giving executives a visual presentation about his experience as a first-generation Asian-American.

Pure Flix’s CEO, Michael Ellis, who is partly based in Thailand promised a sympathetic and respectful adaptation on Tuesday. Though all the trapped boys and their coach are of Asian origin , the divers come from all around the globe.


Catherine Shoard

The GuardianTramp

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