The heroic rescue of 12 boys in Thailand by a Coventry cave diver is being made into a blockbuster Hollywood movie. Former Coventry firefighter Rick Stanton was a key player in the dramatic rescue back in July 2018 and now the incredible story is being turned into a film and a book. The blockbuster is being directed by Ron Howard and will see the former Green Watch firefighter at Canley fire station played by Lord of the Rings actor Viggo Mortensen.
Working with Viggo Mortensen
Stanton spoke about his excitement about the film to ITN News, in which he revealed that he has been having zoom calls with the actor to help him get into character. Speaking on ITV News, he said: “Right from the very start people were saying ‘this would make a great Hollywood movie’, it pretty much has all of the elements you would need. We signed up to do that and it is now being made. The director is Ron Howard, whose other notable film of a similar style was of course Apollo 13.
“I have got an actor playing me, who I think is an excellent choice, I have been spending the last nine months on Zoom calls with him, training him up to be me. It’s Viggo Mortensen, who plays Aragorn in Lord of the Rings. My companion while in Thailand John is being played by Colin Farrell. So the two of them are the lead players in a major Hollywood movie.”
It is being filmed in Australia and he has travelled there to check out the set.
“That was really fascinating,” he told ITN. “Seeing how a movie is made, seeing the set, seeing the whole process and just being, actually involved in actually altering the script. Training Viggo to be me and, of course, such a quality actor, he can play me as well or better than I can.”
Rick and John Volanthen were the first divers to reach the group nine days after they went missing in the underground network in northern Thailand. He spoke about the moment they found them: “Of course it was a euphoric moment, that wasn’t the rescue, that was just the start of a massive process to think about how to get them out. It had never been done before , we were really flying blind and we had to make it up on the go, so that was really the challenge and that is why it took a week from when we found them until we started to bring them out.”
It is not the first accolade to have been heaped on the former firefighter, he was also honoured by Coventry City council.