Thai cave rescue film in the works

‘Indiana Jones 5’ delayed again

LOS ANGELES, July 11, (RTRS): The Thai cave rescue operation will likely soon get the movie treatment. Pure Flix Entertainment is seeking the movie rights about the mission to rescue a dozen boys and their soccer coach who were trapped deep within a labyrinth. “I could not be more excited; this story has meant so much to me as I followed it,” Pure Flix managing partner Michael Scott said on Tuesday at the scene of the flooded cave. “To see all that bravery in the cave and then to get all the divers out has been such a touching event.” The near three-week ordeal prompted an international rescue effort that kept the world on edge. The 12th boy and his coach were the last of the team to be rescued on Tuesday. The team became trapped on June 23 when rising flood water confined them deep inside the cave.

Scott, who lives in Thailand for part of the year, has been assisting in rescue efforts at Chiang Rai for the past four days. He said the story touched him partly because his wife grew up with former Sgt Saman Kunan, who was working as a volunteer alongside rescuers when he died on July 6. Scott’s wife has also been involved with planning Kunan’s funeral service.

“We’re here looking at this as a movie that could inspire millions of people around the globe,” Scott said. “We’re here witnessing the events and gathering some contact information to really tell a story about the entire world coming together to save 13 kids trapped in a cave on the Chinese border.”

David A.R. White, the production company’s co-founder, told the Wall Street Journal that Pure Flix has begun talking to actors, writers, and investors about partnering on a movie. He also said some potential partners have reached out to Pure Flix, including Thai investors specializing in faith-based stories. “At the same time, these stories still have to be entertaining and moving,” he said.

“It’s very important to us to be sensitive to the situation, as this is a personal story, it is not our goal to exploit this situation in any way, but to honor all those that are involved,” White added.

Harrison Ford’s big screen return as adventurer Indiana Jones has been pushed back until 2021, Walt Disney Co announced on Tuesday, two years after the fifth movie in the action franchise was first scheduled to be released.

The film was originally scheduled for release in 2019 but that date was later pushed back to 2020. The new delay follows reports last week in Hollywood industry publications that the script had not been finished and that a new writer was being brought in to polish it. Disney did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday on the delay.

The film will reunite Ford with director Stephen Spielberg in the “Indiana Jones” franchise created by filmmaker George Lucas, that has grossed nearly $2 billion at the world box office with four films and amassed a global fan base. Disney said in 2016 that it was going ahead with a fifth installment.

Exchange

The delay means Ford will be 79 when he appears as the Fedora-wearing archaeologist in theaters. His age has been a running theme in the films since an often-quoted exchange in the first movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1981.

Karen Allen, playing Jones’s love interest Marion, says “You’re not the man I knew 10 years ago” and Ford responds with a line that has since become famous: “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.”

Spielberg also has a slate of other projects he is currently working on, including a remake of musical “West Side Story” and religion drama “The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara.”

The as yet untitled fifth “Indiana Jones” film will come 13 years after “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” in which Ford’s Jones reunited with his former love Marion, again played by Allen, and discovered he had a grown son, Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf). The film received mixed reviews.

Ford’s most recent movie appearances were in last year’s “Blade Runner 2049” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” when he reprised his role as swash-buckling adventurer Han Solo. The 2015 film went on to take more than $2 billion at the global box office and become the third biggest release of all time.

Magnolia Pictures has acquired North American rights to Italian director Matteo Garrone’s gritty revenge drama “Dogman,” which won the best actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Dubbed an “urban Western,” the movie marks Garrone’s return to smaller-scale Italian-language filmmaking following his English-language fantasy “Tale of Tales.” “Dogman” is inspired by a murder committed by a dog groomer during the late 1980s in a gang-ridden area outside Rome.

Newcomer Marcello Fonte, who plays the mild-mannered dog groomer caught up in spiraling violence with a bullying boxer, “gives an expert performance as a saintly scamp who ‘blooms’ into a butterfly of vengeance,” Variety critic Owen Gleiberman said in his review. Besides the acting nod for Fonte, “Dogman” also won Cannes’ unofficial Palm Dog award for its canine cast.

Several critics have pointed out similarities between Garrone’s hit 2008 Neapolitan mob drama “Gomorrah” and “Dogman” in terms of their criminal underworld theme and atmospherics. “Dogman” recently swept Italy’s Silver Ribbon prizes, which are awarded by the Italian film journalists’ union, and is currently considered a front-runner to become the country’s contender for the upcoming foreign-language film Oscar race.

Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles praised Garrone in a statement for having “fashioned another extremely compelling crime tale, a great companion piece to his ‘Gomorrah,’” and noted that “Marcello Fonte richly deserved his Cannes acting award, as did the canine ensemble.” Magnolia is planning a 2019 US theatrical release.

Garrone, who is currently preparing a “Pinocchio” adaptation, said he was looking forward to bringing “Dogman” to US audiences. His Archimede Films banner produced “Dogman” with financing from RAI Cinema and Le Pacte, which will distribute in France. The producers are Garrone and Le Pacte chief Jean Labadie. HanWay, the company founded by British producer Jeremy Thomas, has UK rights. The film was widely pre-sold by RAI sales unit, RAI Com, before Cannes.

The US deal was negotiated by Magnolia SVP of Acquisitions John Von Thaden, with media investment company 30West, Andrew Kramer and RAI Com.

Magnolia has been an active buyer at the Cannes market, where they picked up Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Palme d’Or winner “Shoplifters,” Iceland’s “Woman at War,” about an ecological activist, and Norwegian disaster film “The Quake.” The company’s recent releases include the Oscar-nominated “I Am Not Your Negro” and last year’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner, “The Square.”

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