Hollywood has arrived at the foothills of the mountain cave system in Thailand where one of the world’s most daring rescue operations is underway.
Two American producers are already plotting a movie project about the Wild Boars youth soccer team and their coach in anticipation of global box office success.
“I see this as a major Hollywood film with A-list stars,” Michael Scott, managing partner of Pure Flix films, told AAP in Chiang Rai.
Scott and co-producer Adam Smith have been conducting preliminary interviews around the Tham Luang cave site, where a final push is now underway to complete the rescue of the group of 13 who became trapped in the caves by rising flood waters more than two weeks ago.
Scott and Smith also plan to bring in a screenwriter and interview key players from the team of foreign rescuers and Thai Navy SEALS, the victims and their families and seek exclusive rights to their stories.
Asked if their actions might be seen as insensitive at such a delicate time, Smith said: “There’s going to be other production companies coming in so we have to act pretty quickly.”
So far, eight of the boys, aged 11 to 16 years, have successfully been brought to the surface by a daisy chain of divers who guided them through 4km of narrow, murky water-filled passages.
The journey takes the divers about 11 hours to get in and out.
Another attempt will be made later on Tuesday to try to get the remaining boys and the coach out.
The rescue team being lead by Thai authorities includes a number of foreigners, including Australians and Adelaide anaesthetist Dr Richard Harris, a seasoned rescue diver.
Scott, who’s married to a Thai woman and spends three months a year in Thailand, said they are not pressing people over the interviews.
“I’ve told them once this has died down let’s really sit down and have a more in-depth interview on what’s really happening,” he said.
Pure Flix is based in Scottsdale, Arizona and Los Angeles and describes itself as a faith and family production and distribution film company.
Its biggest film so far is ‘God’s not Dead’ (2014), which made close to $US70 million worldwide produced on a budget of $US2 million.
Scott believes the cave rescue story, which will be centred around the two British divers who discovered the boys, is the perfect project for Pure Flix.
“This just kind of fit our DNA in terms of a really inspirational story,” he said during an interview conducted late Monday.
“It’s got incredible heart, incredible acts of heroism and bravery. It’s just an incredible thing and we think it will inspire millions around the world.”
Smith, who also runs KAOS Entertainment in Bangkok, said “it’s apolitical, it has no agenda. Everyone is on the same page and everyone is rooting for them”.
Scott said once a “name” screenwriter was on board production was expected to start production in late 2019.