Muse Reporting on the arts and culture

Rushing to retell the Thai cave rescue

Culture | Two movies and a museum are in the works
by Charissa Koh & Lynde Langdon
Posted 7/13/18, 05:28 pm

Now that 12 boys and their soccer coach have made it safely out of a cave in northern Thailand, the race is on to repackage one of the year’s most compelling human interest stories into an entertainment vehicle.

God’s Not Dead producer Michael Scott hopes to make a movie about the rescue. On Tuesday, he posted a video of himself outside the cave. “I think we’re here really looking at this as a movie that could inspire millions of people across the globe,” he said. Scott is a managing partner of Pure Flix, an American film studio that makes Christian movies.

“This just kind of fits our DNA in terms of a really inspirational story,” Scott told the Australian Associated Press. “It’s got incredible heart, incredible acts of heroism and bravery. It’s just an incredible thing.”

The 12-member soccer team explored the cave after a practice on June 23. Water rose in the cave, trapping them and their 25-year-old coach. Rescuers located them 10 days later but struggled to find a way to extract them due to the heavy rainfall and rising water in the cave’s narrow passageways. One diver, a former Thai navy SEAL, died in the effort. Initially, authorities considered waiting four months for monsoon season to end, but when the weather became worse and oxygen in the cave dwindled, they decided to risk a dangerous rescue.

Divers guided the boys through partially flooded passages, sometimes climbing and sometimes diving with no visibility. On Tuesday, the last of the team made it out with their coach. They are recovering in a nearby hospital.

“The world just needs to know that what was accomplished was a once in a lifetime rescue,” said Derek Anderson, a rescue specialist with the U.S. Air Force who assisted in plotting a strategy to save the boys and their coach.

But Pure Flix will have some competition: Producer Jon M. Chu and Ivanhoe Pictures also announced this week they were talking to senior Thai officials to try to get the rights to the story, Variety reported. Chu produced the film Crazy Rich Asians and said on Twitter it was important for Asians to be involved in making the movie.

“I refuse to let Hollywood #whitewashout the Thai Cave rescue story!” he tweeted.

Scott said he wants the film to emphasize the bravery and heroism of the rescuers, not religion. One of the boys who was rescued comes from a Christian family and is sponsored by the U.S.-based ministry Compassion International.

“It’s not necessary to make this a Christian film, just an inspirational one,” Scott told The Hollywood Reporter.

The Thai government is also working to share the story by turning the cave itself into a tourist attraction.

“The area will become a living museum, to show how the operation unfolded,” Narongsak Osottanakorn, former governor of the region and head of the rescue mission, said at a news conference this week.

Associated Press/Photo by Jefferson Siegel/The Daily News Associated Press/Photo by Jefferson Siegel/The Daily News Harvey Weinstein in court in New York on Monday

Weinstein’s sins coming home to roost

Entertainment mogul Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty on Monday to new charges that he sexually assaulted a woman in 2006. New York (Manhattan) Supreme Court Justice James Burke released Weinstein on $1 million bail.

The new charges, levied by an unidentified woman, include two counts of predatory sexual assault, one of the most serious sexual offenses, punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison. Weinstein also faces charges from two other women.

Weinstein’s lawyer, Ben Brafman, said the #MeToo offender is moving beyond denying the accusations and has stacked up “overwhelming evidence” from emails and witness accounts that discredits the three women who have pressed criminal charges.

Weinstein has already forfeited his passport, has an ankle monitor, and has to stay away from the three women. He’s due back in court Sept. 20.

On Wednesday, a Delaware judge gave private equity firm Lantern Capital the green light to buy Weinstein’s bankrupt movie company for $289 million.

Attorneys negotiated the price down from $310 million after concerns over millions of dollars still owed on contracts threatened to halt the deal. Lantern agreed to set aside $8.75 million to satisfy outstanding contracts and to cover the company’s operating expenses since June 29 if the Weinstein Company reduced the price. It is unclear whether this new sale has a designated victim compensation fund.

Actors such as Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, and Bradley Cooper filed an objection to the sale Monday, claiming the contract gives no guarantee they will be paid money they are owed. The claims will be resolved after the sale closed Friday. —Harvest Prude

Associated Press Associated Press Tab Hunter

Hollywood’s Hunter

Actor Tab Hunter, star of Damn Yankees (1958), died Sunday at age 86 of a heart attack at his Santa Barbara home. Hunter rose to fame in the 1950s as an all-American heartthrob. He acted in movies, a TV show, and one Broadway play. In his 2005 autobiography Tab Hunter Confidential, he revealed he was gay.

Hunter was born Arthur Kelm in New York City on July 11, 1931. His parents divorced shortly after his birth, and he grew up in California. His 1955 movie Battle Cry landed him a seven-year contract with Warner Bros., the studio that shaped him into a celebrity.

In 1958 he starred in the movie adaption of the musical Damn Yankees. Eventually, he left his contract with Warner Bros. to choose his own work. His career faded as he acted in less-prominent films and a TV show called The Tab Hunter Show that ran only one season.

In 1981, he starred in the John Waters hit comedy Polyester. He last appeared in a 2015 documentary based on his autobiography.

“The first line of my book is ‘I hate labels,’” Hunter said in a 2015 interview with Slant Magazine. “The important thing is what kind of a human being you are. All the other stuff is nonsense.” —C.C.

It’s an honor

The Emmy nominations are out, and HBO’s Game of Thrones landed a whopping 22 of them. Megan Basham’s 2016 observations about the show still hold true: “In subtle, probably sometimes unintentional ways, Game of Thrones argues for an immutable moral order.” Netflix also scored big, landing 112 total Emmy nominations, just five years after debuting its first original series, House of Cards. As far as the Emmys are concerned, the cable vs. streaming war is over, and streaming has won. —L.L.

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Charissa Koh

Charissa is a WORLD reporter who often writes about poverty fighting and prison reform, including profiling ministries in the annual Hope Awards for Effective Compassion competition. She is also a part of WORLD's investigative unit, the Caleb Team. Charissa resides with her husband, Josh, in Austin, Texas. Follow her on Twitter @CharissaKoh.

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Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital's managing editor. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kansas. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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