Thai production by director Tom Waller looks set to win the race to be the first film about the daring rescue of 12 young boys and their football coach from the flooded Tham Luang cave in July.
The nerve-wracking extraction of the football team through a submerged treacherous labyrinth gripped the world for 18 days, and the remarkable story of human triumph over adversity sparked an immediate rush of six movie proposals.
In an interview with The Bangkok Post at the Toronto International Film Festival, Mr Waller said that work was already underway for his own film project, titled The Cave in English and Nang Non in Thai.
“The film is happening,” confirmed the Anglo-Thai director, whose past films include Mindfulness and Murder, a thriller set in a temple, and Soi Cowboy, which featured at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008.
“The first draft of the script is finished and in October we will start building sets,” he said.
Mr Waller revealed that the plot would focus on “first-person perspectives” and “unsung heroes”, featuring four or five main characters based on real Thai and international volunteers.
“One thing is certain, I won’t exploit anyone involved in the incident,” he said. “I want to show the volunteer spirit that fascinated the world.”
Thailand’s ministry of culture in July said that a special committee would be formed to oversee all film projects related to the dramatic mission, to ensure accuracy and the rights of those involved. o inside Thai cave rescue
However, the Post suggested that the project by DeWarrenne Productions, Mr Waller’s Bangkok-based film company, would face fewer restrictions than foreign film proposals.
Concerns have been expressed that any Hollywood attempts to muscle in on the story may distort the narrative.
Jon Chu, the director of blockbuster Crazy Rich Asians, who reportedly indicated his own intentions to make a Thai cave rescue film, warned others to approach the story with respect.
“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 about human beings saving other human beings. So anyone thinking about the story better approach it right & respectfully,” he tweeted in July.
According to Variety, Mr Chu had teamed up with Ivanhoe Pictures who were currently in talks with senior officials in Thailand.