Ron Howard's Thai Cave Rescue Movie Casts Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, Joel Edgerton, and More

Ron Howard‘s Thai cave rescue movie cast is starting to fill out.

Viggo Mortensen (the Lord of the Rings trilogy), Colin Farrell (In Bruges), and Joel Edgerton (Warrior) are the three most recognizable names to American audiences that have been added to the cast, but there are nine other actors who have been hired to join the ensemble as well.

Deadline reports that 12 total actors have been added to Thirteen Lives, Ron Howard’s Thai cave rescue movie cast, and Mortensen, Farrell, and Edgerton are the three biggest names in the bunch. The film has also hired Weir Sukollawat (Malila), Thiraphat Sajakul (The Serpent), Sahajak Boonthanakit (The Serpent), Vithaya Pansringarm (The Prey), Teeradon “JamesSupapunpinyo (Bad Genius), Nophand Boonyai (Only God Forgives), Tom Bateman (Death on the Nile), Paul Gleeson (The Thin Red Line), and Lewis Fitz-Gerald (Pitch Black).

Here’s how the film is described: Thirteen Lives “tells the true story of the rescue of twelve boys and their soccer coach from a flooded, impenetrable cave system in Thailand in 2018. Thai families, the government, and a community of farmers and neighbors came together alongside volunteers from around the world to get them out of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system in Chiang Rai Province. Among the volunteers were veteran British cave divers John Volanthen, Richard Stanton, Jason Mallinson, Chris Jewell, Josh Bratchley, Connor Roe, and Vernon Unsworth; Australian cave diver Dr. Richard Harris and Thai native Thanet Natisri. The harrowing 18-day ordeal made headlines around the world.”

Mortensen will play Richard Stanton, “who specializes in rescues through the Cave Rescue Organization and the British Cave Rescue Council.” Farrell plays John Volanthen, “a veteran cave diver who specializes in cave exploration and underwater rescue.” Edgerton portrays Dr. Richard Harris, “an anesthetist and cave diver with over 30 years of experience, who was awarded the ‘Outstanding Achievement’ award at the Australian technical diving conference Oztek, to mark his exceptional contributions to cave diving exploration.”

Deadline also reports that Sukollawat portrays former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunan; Sajakul plays Anand, a Thai Navy SEAL key to the rescue effort; Boonthanakit plays the Chiang Rai province acting governor Narongsak Osatanakorn; Pansringarm plays General Anuphond; Supapunpinyo portrays the soccer team’s coach “Ek” Ekkaphon Chanthawong; and Boonyai will portray Thanet Natisri, a groundwater expert contacted by the Thai military. Bateman plays Diving Officer Chris Jewell, Gleeson portrays Cave Rescue Organization member Jason Mallinson, and Fitz-Gerald plays British rescue diver Vernon Unsworth.

You can point to Howard’s filmography – specifically a film like Apollo 13 – and say that because he has experience with this type of rescue mission movie, he is therefore qualified to tell this story. But just because he’s qualified doesn’t make him the perfect fit, and I still can’t quite shake the idea that this movie might be better served with someone else behind the camera. As always, I’ll reserve final judgment until the actual movie comes out. Production begins this month.

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