Ron Howard & ‘Thirteen Lives’ Filmmakers On Importance Of Details In Thai Cave Rescue Pic: “It’s Their Story” – Contenders L.A.

Ron Howard was as transfixed as the rest of the world in 2018 when a massive international rescue effort came together to save 12 Thai youth soccer players and their coach who were trapped in a flooded underground cave. 

That’s also why Howard and his crew became obsessed with not only telling their story but doing so with a maximum level of truth and honesty about what actually transpired over the course of that long summer month.

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Speaking at the Deadline’s The Contenders Film: Los Angeles panel Saturday, supervising sound editor Rachel Tate talked about the granular level of detail they pursued while producing the film.

“As a viewer, you can go into those scenes, close your eyes, and the voices that you hear passing by, they’re from the countries that actually were there,” he said. “They’re saying the lines that were actually said at that time, and even a Thai crowd was recorded about 45 minutes from the real cave. So we just needed to get these details right because it’s a Thai story. It’s their story. They’re very proud of it, and we have no duty being wrong about these details.”

The drive for authenticity carried over to every aspect of the production, until the actors themselves — who were meant to be body-doubled by real trained divers for the underwater scenes — insisted on doing their own diving. 

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“I didn’t think they should do it for safety reasons and production-wise where there was no way to make it fit,” Howard said, “but they were so insistent upon it. nd once we determined that they were competent enough that they can safely do it…they would just show up and you know, every hour that they weren’t in front of the cameras doing dialogue, they were there doing the diving and it made all the difference in the world.”

Howard also explained how the cast and crew took the time to learn about Thai culture and developed an appreciation for Thai spiritual practices that carried over into the filming. 

“One of the divers who said ‘I’m not a particularly religious person’ — at the end when he walked out, he said, ‘I had to take a moment and bow my head to the shrine of the princess because how else could this have happened?”

Check back Monday for the panel video.

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