July 12, 2018
John Chu is Developing a Second Thai Cave Rescue Movie, Pledges to Avoid “Whitewashing”
It’s an inspiring story fit for Hollywood: 12 brave young soccer players trapped in a flooded cave for two weeks, dauntless rescuers risking life and limb to save the team, a wave of support from dozens of countries as the world watched with bated breath for the rescuers to emerge victorious with the Wild Boars safe in hand. And then the miracle: they got out.
Of course, Hollywood is already 10 steps ahead of us. It was barely days after the Wild Boars were rescued that a Thai cave rescue movie was announced to be in development. And only a day later, a second movie was announced — but this one promising to circumvent that dreaded Hollywood tendency: whitewashing.
Hollywood loves a good old-fashioned inspirational story — but one thing it might love even more is plopping a white savior in the middle of that story. Now, there’s no guarantee that Pure Flix, the production company that first announced that it was eyeing the movie rights to the story, would whitewash the film, but considering its roster of faith-based movies like God’s Not Dead and God’s Not Dead 2, it’s highly likely that they would.
Concerns over whitewashing grew so strong that Crazy Rich Asians director John M. Chu decided to take matters into his own hands. “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,” Chu tweeted, adding it’s “a beautiful story” about human beings saving other human beings.
“So anyone thinking about the story better approach it right & respectfully,” he added.
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
Now, Chu is attached to direct a film under Ivanhoe Pictures based on the news story that captured the attention of the world, Deadline reports. Ivanhoe Pictures President John Penotti announced that they are in negotiations with Thailand’s Navy and government to develop the film.
The film company says they are currently in talks with “senior officials in Thailand both on provincial and national levels.” Ivanhoe Pictures says “multiple studios who have shown interest about this project.”
The news comes a day after Pure Flix CEO and managing partner Michael Scott announced that his studio was working on a dramatic adaptation of the events surrounding the trapped Thai soccer team and their 25-year-old coach.
Both Chu and Pure Flix’s films will be based on the rescue of the 12 young Thai soccer players and their 25-year-old coach who were trapped in a cave complex near the Myanmar border. After 18 days, Thai Navy SEALS, government officials, and countless private companies helped orchestrate a rescue that brought each of the trapped soccer players and their coach to safety.
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