LOS ANGELES – At least two Hollywood directors have expressed interest in developing a film about the successful rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach who were trapped for more than two weeks in a flooded cave in northern Thailand.
Michael Scott, chief executive officer of American Christian production studio Pure Flix, posted a video on Twitter on Tuesday announcing his plans to produce a film about the story.
“We are here really looking at this as a movie that could inspire millions of people across the globe,” Scott said in the video.
“I could not be more excited. This story has meant so much to me,” Scott added while also praising the bravery of the rescue team and the international effort put into the mission to save the lives of the 13 people trapped in the flooded cave.
He said his wife grew up with the ex-Thai Naxy SEAL Saman Kunan who died during the operation.
However, on Wednesday after Scott had announced his plan, Jon M. Chu, an American-born Chinese director and producer, said on Twitter he is also interested in producing a movie featuring the rescue story but wanted it done “right” and “respectfully.”
“I refuse to let Hollywood #whitewashout the Thai Cave rescue story!” Chu said, using the term “whitewash” to refer to a criticized practice in the movie industry in which Western actors take the roles of non-white characters.
“No way. Not on our watch. That won’t happen or we’ll give them hell. There’s a beautiful story about human beings saving other human beings. So anyone thinking about the story better approach it right & respectfully,” he added.
Chu, the director of “GI Joe: Retaliation” (2013) and “Now You See Me 2” (2016), is next month set to release “Crazy Rich Asians,” a romantic comedy featuring a cast of Asian actors.
“Its a bit early 2truly discuss but the biggest lesson I learned frm making #CrazyRichAsians is that we must tell our stories especially the important ones so history doesn’t get it wrong. This one is too important 2 let others dictate who the real heroes are,” added the filmmaker on Twitter.
With Hollywood trying to promote diversity both on screen and behind the scenes, the controversy over a Western actor playing an Asian character has recently arisen following Scarlett Johansson’s role in a 2017 movie “Ghost in the Shell” and Tilda Swinton’s portrayal of a sorcerer in “Doctor Strange” (2016).