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Netflix signs deal for Thai cave rescue miniseries

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BANGKOK — Netflix, Inc. is teaming up with the company behind the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians to produce a miniseries about the perilous rescue of 12 young soccer players and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.

The California-based streaming giant and SK Global Entertainment signed an agreement for the dramatization at the Culture Ministry on Tuesday in Bangkok. Financial details weren’t revealed, though earlier local reports said the soccer team members would each get 3 million baht ($94,000) for the rights.

“The story combines so many unique local and universal themes which connected people from all walks of life, from all around the world,” Erika North, Netflix’s Director of International Originals, said.

“Thailand is a very important market for Netflix and we’re looking forward to bringing this inspiring local, but globally resonant story of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to life, once again, for global audiences,” she added.

The Wild Boars soccer team, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach became trapped on June 23, 2018 while exploring the cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai when a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels.

A 17-day effort to rescue them gripped the world with experts from various countries volunteering to help. The international rescue effort using specialist cave divers brought each of them out, one after the other, gripping the world as the drama unfolded over two weeks. A former Thai Navy SEAL died during the operation, which involved navigating narrow, submerged and sometimes pitch-black passageways.




Engineers from billionaire Elon Musk’s rocket firm Space Exploration Technologies Corp. built a high-tech, kid-sized submarine to aid in the rescue, but it ultimately wasn’t needed.

“We look forward to working with all involved parties to ensure our story is told accurately,” assistant coach Ekkapol “Ake” Chantapong said.

The cave rescue miniseries will be directed by Thailand’s Nattawut Poonpiriya and Jon M. Chu, who put together Crazy Rich Asians.

Netflix and SK Global Entertainment secured the rights from the 13 Thamluang, a company established by the boys and their coach.

So far, two books about the rescue have been published while a feature film by British-Thai director Tom Waller, The Cave, wrapped up shooting in December, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Netflix has about 150 million paid subscribers globally and remains the dominant paid streaming service. The company spent more than $7 billion on programming last year. — Reuters/Bloomberg

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