Netflix will release its long-gestating drama about the real-life northern rescue of 12 boys who were trapped in a cave in Thailand on September 22. Thai Cave Rescue will show how the Wild Boars soccer team’s afternoon exploring with their 25-year-old coach went disastrously wrong when heavy rain trapped them inside, leading to a massive international recovery mission that engrossed the world.
Netflix partnered with filmmakers across Thailand and beyond to create the six-episode series, which is filmed entirely in the Asian nation, after jointly acquiring rights to the story with SK Global Entertainment back in 2019. The drama unfolds through the perspectives of the boys at the center of the rescue.
Created by Michael Russell Gunn (Billions, Designed Survivorand Dana Ledoux MillerDesigned Survivor, Narcos), the limited series is directed by Thailand’s Baz Poonpiriya (One for the Road, Bad Genius) and US director Kevin Tancharoen (The Brothers Sun, The Book of Boba Fett). Both also serve as executive producers alongside Jon M. Chu (In the Heights, Crazy Rich Asians(and Lance Johnson)Troop Zero, The Equalizer) for Electric Somewhere; John Penotti (Crazy Rich Asians) for SK Global Entertainment; John Logan PiersonSpencer Confidential, Patriots Day; and Tim Coddington (Mulan, Crazy Rich Asians).
Cast includes Papangkorn “Beam” Lerkchaleampote as Coach Eak, Thaneth “Ek” Warakulnukroh as Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn, and Urassaya “Yaya” Sperbund and Manatsanun “Donut” Phanlerdwongsakul as Kelly and Pim — fictional hydraulic representatives and representatives of the real-world park rangers that made the incredible rescue possible. Supakorn “Tok” Kitsuwan is former Navy SEAL diver Saman “Ja Sam” Gunan, and Bloom Varin plays army doctor Colonel Bhak Loharjun.
The boys are played by 12 local young actors, with filming taking place at the homes of the real boys and Tham Luang, where they were trapped, itself.
As with the real mission, Thai Cave Rescue international actors to portray key contributors in this rescue, including Nicholas Bell as Vern Unsworth, Nicholas Farnell as John Volanthen, Christopher Stollery as Rick Stanton, Rodger Corser as Dr. Richard “Harry” Harris, and Damon Herriman as Dr. Craig Challen.
“Thai Cave Rescue is the first opportunity for audiences worldwide to see the Tham Luang story in a new and more emotional light — centering the perspectives of the 12 Wild Boars, Coach Eak, and heroes like Saman ‘Ja Sam’ Gunan, whose lives beyond the operation remain largely outside the public spotlight,” said Poonpiriya.
Tancharoen added: “As a Thai American, I feel so incredibly fortunate to help tell this story through the lens and soul of the Thai people. I wanted to bring my experience of telling big superhero stories to the real world. One where real-life superheroes worked together for a common cause regardless of where they were from, and the only superpowers are the perseverance of the human spirit and what we can accomplish when we work together.”
Ron Howard and MGM’s Thai cave rescue film Thirteen Live is set for its theatrical debut on Friday (July 29). Read Toon McCarthy’s review here. The story was also told in Nat Geo documentary The Rescue last year and in indie film The Cave back in 2019.