With the documentary Free Solo, directors Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin took to the skies, joining madman rock climber Alex Honnold as he scaled cliff faces extending storey upon storey into the air. Having mastered all that lies above the ground, the filmmaking pair will now turn their sights on the only realm yet to have fallen under their dominion – underground.
Per Deadline, Chin and Vasarhelyi have been tapped by Universal to helm their developing movie about the 2018 Thai cave rescue. With the status of their Helicopter Heist film for Netflix currently unknown, it could very well be their first foray into narrative cinema.
For those whose memories of the incident have already faded: in July of that year, monsoon rains trapped a boys soccer team’s worth of grade-schoolers and their terrified coach in an underwater cave over one thousand meters beneath the surface. The multi-day affair claimed the life of one attempted rescuer and hospitalized three more before they were safely extracted in a daring and dangerous mission.
One of the stranger tangential dramas playing out alongside this campaign of mercy involved billionaire tech bro Elon Musk, who falsely claimed that he had devised a child-sized submarine capable of transporting the captive kids one at a time. When the professionals responsible for the rescue expressed their skepticism at Musk’s capacity to be helpful, he accused one of them of pedophilia, an incident the Deadline item fails to address.
Musk casting possibilities notwithstanding – am I crazy, or would Friends alumnus Matt LeBlanc be kind of perfect for this? – it’s still an intriguing concept for a film. Inspirational race-against-time movies can be a dud proposition, pinning all their drama on an outcome everyone in the theater already knows, but the sheer verve of Chin and Vasarhelyi’s filmmaking technique would be the real draw here.
Published 3 Mar 2020
Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi are poised to make their first foray into narrative filmmaking.
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