Prime Video has released the first trailer for the ripped-from-the-headlines drama “Thirteen Lives,” Ron Howard’s upcoming film about the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue.
In June and July 2018, the members of a junior football team were trapped for 18 days in Thailand’s Tham Luang Nang Non cave, after heavy rainfall flooded the cave system and blocked their way out. As the team – who ranged in age from 11-16 years old – and their coach remained trapped for weeks, the situation attracted global interest and an international rescue team was assembled to locate them. Howard’s film will chronicle the events of the rescue, focusing on the efforts of the divers to save the trapped team members.
Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrell lead the cast of “Thirteen Lives” as Rick Stanton and John Volanthen, the British cave divers who volunteered their expertise to help find the group, along with Joel Edgerton who plays anaesthetist Harry Harris and Tom Bateman as diver Chris Jewell. Sahajak ‘Poo’ Boonthanakit portrays Governor Narongsak, who headed the rescue operation, with Teeradon ‘James’ Supapunpinyo playing Ekkaphon Chanthawong, the team’s assistant coach.
The trailer promises that audiences will “witness the greatest rescue, the world has ever seen” as footage shows the young team entering the cave system on a whim, only to become entombed by the powerful, rushing water that floods it. The clip follows the daring and dangerous rescue attempt as Stanton, Volanthen, Harris and Jewell worked with Thai officials, including as Commander Kiet (Thira ‘Aum’ Chutikul) and Dr. Karn (Popetorn ‘Two’ Soonthornyanaku) in effort to save all thirteen people, despite the odds.
Howard directs from a screenplay written by William Nicholson, based on a story Nicholson developed with Don MacPherson. The Academy Award-winner produces with Brian Grazer, William M. Connor, Karen Lunder, Gabrielle Tana and P.J. van Sandwijk. Carolyn Marks Blackwood, Jason Cloth, Aaron L. Gilbert, Michael Lesslie and Marie Savare executive produce. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produces the film with Howard and Grazer’s production banner Imagine Entertainment and Bron Creative.
Previously dated for Nov. 18, 2022, the MGM movie is now under the Amazon umbrella after the company closed an $8.5 billion acquisition of the historic film studio in March. As such, film will be released in select theaters on July 29 for limited one-week engagements before launching globally on Prime Video on Aug. 5 as one of the company’s “summer tentpoles.”
Variety exclusively reported plans for the shift in May, as Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke explained the rationale behind the move.
“When we saw ‘Thirteen Lives,’ we got incredibly excited about what this could be on a global premiere, about what this could do for customers all over the world,” Salke told Variety at the time. “It feels like the ultimate inspirational story of hope, determination and triumph.”
And by maintaining the film’s qualifying theatrical release alongside the streaming run, Amazon also affirmed the film’s position as an early awards season contender.
“We’re trying to continue the legacy of ‘Manchester by the Sea,’ ‘The Big Sick,’ ‘Being the Ricardos’ [to] keep the high quality bar going, while bringing the movie to as many people as possible,” Salke noted. “We think this movie can do both.”
Watch the full trailer for the film below.
Ron Howard’s ‘Thirteen Lives’ First Trailer Reveals the Dangers of the Thai Cave Rescue