Ron Howard To Direct Thai Cave Rescue Drama ‘Thirteen Lives’ From ‘Gladiator’ Writer

Unlike the public clamor for a movie on the Chilean miners rescue from a few years ago, there hasn’t been as much noise from Hollywood over the Tham Luang cave rescue from 2018. The miraculous recovery of Thai soccer players from an underground cave was no less an international story that captured the hearts of millions, and one of those was Ron Howard who plans to bring it to the big screen.

Deadline reports Ron Howard will direct Thirteen Lives, which retells the story of the Thailand Wild Boar boys soccer team, who along with their coach were trapped 1,000 meters below ground during a monsoon. The rescue effort took a couple of weeks, over 100 divers, two of which died, but managed to save all members of the team.

The film will be written by William Nicholson, the Oscar-nominated writer of Gladiator and Everest. This is Howard’s first movie since Solo, and getting back to the broad, sweeping emotional dramas he’s known for is probably a good idea.

Quietly, other projects on the rescue are in the works. Free Solo directors Jimmy Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi have signed on to a movie on the subject; Netflix is developing a miniseries, and Kevin MacDonald (The Last King of Scotland) is working on a doc for NatGeo.

Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.