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Hollywood, Thai actors on the real-life heroes of 'Thirteen Lives'

Yong Chavez | TFC News Hollywood

Posted at Aug 06 2022 12:21 PM | Updated as of Aug 06 2022 05:08 PM

Cast and crew at the Hollywood premiere of 'Thirteen Lives. Courtesy: Eric Charbonneau
Cast and crew at the Hollywood premiere of 'Thirteen Lives.' Eric Charbonneau

'Thirteen Lives' tells the extraordinary heroism of ordinary people who saved a youth soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand in 2018 after heavy rains flooded the area.

Oscar winner Ron Howard directed the movie from a screenplay by William Nicholson. It tells the true-to-life international efforts of thousands of volunteers who undertook the impossible task of retrieving the children amidst seemingly insurmountable odds.

The movie also stars a number of Thai actors who themselves marveled at the inside stories revealed in the film that made the rescue operations even more remarkable.

Sahajak Boonthanakit. Courtesy: Stewart Cook
Sahajak 'Poo' Boonthanakit. Stewart Cook

For Sahajak 'Poo' Boonthanakit who plays the local governor, Governor Narongsak, telling the story is 'very important.'

"Nobody knew what happened in between, what (director) Ron (Howard) was able to convey to everybody, including myself. So when I found this out after reading the script, I totally agreed with the team saying that we should make this movie and deliver it to the world and let them see what goodness is in this world," he said.

Colin Farrell, Paul Gleeson, Thira Chutikul. Courtesy: Vince Valitutti / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures
(L to R) Colin Farrell as John Volanthen, Paul Gleeson as Jason Mallison and Thira 'Aum' Chutikul as Commander Kiet in 'Thirteen Lives.' Vince Valitutti / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

The struggles of the rescuers and divers who put their lives on the line were dramatized onscreen. Colin Farrell, who plays British rescue diver John Volanthen, recalls how the actors were affected by the real events depicted in the film.

"The moment when we were playing it, we are all actors and all, but the gravity of it, you just kind of go, 'Oh, my God.' But to be in that room with that moment, can you imagine before they went in, before they tried to get that first day, those first four kids out, and they said, I can really tear up now thinking about it, 'We're going to lose some children.' There's no way. Some children are going to die. But this is the only hope we have. And it didn't happen. I mean, as Ron (Howard) says: The anatomy of a miracle is kind of so on point with that," Farrell noted.

Sukollawat Kanarot and Thiraphat Sajakul. Courtesy: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures
Sukollawat 'Weir' Kanarot (left) as Saman and Thiraphat 'Tui' Sajakul (right) as Capt. Arnot Sureewong in 'Thirteen Lives,' directed by Ron Howard, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film.

The filmmakers made sure to also highlight the heroism and ultimate sacrifice of Thai Navy Seal Saman Kunan who died while attempting to reach the boys.

Weir Sukollawat Kanarot. Courtesy: Eric Charbonneau
Weir Sukollawat Kanarot. Eric Charbonneau

"The most difficult scene is that one when Saman was out of breath. It's quite scary and I have to hold my breath, like for two, three minutes," Weir Sukollawat Kanarot who plays the character shared.

'Thirteen Lives' poster. Courtesy: Prime Video 'Thirteen Lives'
Prime Video "Thirteen Lives"

The movie also showed how thousands of Thai villagers, engineers, and locals worked together to help in all of the efforts to save lives. 'Thirteen Lives' is now out in US theaters and can also be seen on Prime Video.

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