We learned this morning that all 12 kids and their soccer coach, trapped in a flooded Thailand cave for more than two weeks, were rescued thanks to the incredible and courageous work of Thai Navy SEALs and a crew of many more.
It’s the sort of story that would make a gripping movie.
Too bad the studio that’s on the scene is Pure Flix, the Christian company behind the God’s Not Dead series and other faith-based films:
“I see this as a major Hollywood film with A-list stars,” Michael Scott, managing partner of Pure Flix films, told AAP in Chiang Rai.
Scott and co-producer Adam Smith have been conducting preliminary interviews around the Tham Luang cave site, where after a gruelling two weeks, all the 12 boys and coach have been freed from the cave.
Scott and Smith also plan to bring in a screenwriter and interview key players from the team of foreign rescuers and Thai Navy SEALS, the victims and their families and seek exclusive rights to their stories.
Asked if their actions might be seen as insensitive at such a delicate time, Smith said: “There’s going to be other production companies coming in so we have to act pretty quickly.”
He’s not wrong about that last part. As distasteful as it might sound, it makes sense for producers to snap up the rights to their story as quickly as possible. The last thing anyone wants is a contract dispute down the road that would add insult to injury.
But the real question is what Pure Flix would do with this material. Smith said the movie would center around “the two British divers who discovered the boys” (which is a whole different controversy). I don’t know those divers’ religious views, but the team’s coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, spent a decade at a Buddhist monastery before turning to soccer. He even helped the boys remain calm in the cave through meditation.
Pure Flix is surely aware of the backlash they would receive if they turned this into a spiritual movie — a movie about Christ — instead of simply an inspirational one with a secular message. Then again, many of their films trash and stereotype atheists and it doesn’t seem to have hurt them at all. So maybe they don’t care.
I just have a hard time trusting them to treat this story with the justice it deserves.