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Crazy Rich Asians' Jon M. Chu is taking his Thai cave rescue project to Netflix

Photo: Linh Pham (Getty Images)

Jon M. Chu captured the zeitgeist Crazy Rich Asians, setting a soulful, comedic romance against opulent glimpses of Singapore’s upper crust. Now, Chu will be trading luxury for peril as a director of Netflix’s retelling of the Thailand soccer team that found themselves trapped in a flooding cave. Joining Chu will be Nattawut “Baz” Poonpiriya, the rising filmmaker behind the 2017 Thai heist flick Bad Genius.

The project is early enough in development that Netflix still isn’t sure if it will end up as a film or a miniseries, Variety reports. Nevertheless, it will tell the story of how “how the 12 teammates and the coach of the Wild Boars soccer squad were rescued after being trapped for two weeks inside of the flooded Tham Luang caves near Chiang Mai, Thailand.”


“Like the rest of the world, we were riveted by the news of the Thai cave rescue,” said Chu in a statement. “With the entire globe watching, this tragic human drama transformed into a beautiful, inspirational story of human beings saving other human beings. Not only did this show the best of the human spirit overcoming even the worst of circumstances, it proved that we are stronger when we work together.” He goes on to praise Poonpiriya, who he says “understands the nuances and details of the local community in which this story unfolds.”

Ekkapol “Coach Ake” Chantapong, one of the men trapped in the cave, voiced his support of the project. “We are grateful for the opportunity to thank the people and organizations from Thailand and around the world who came together to perform a true miracle, by retelling our story,” he said. “We look forward to working with all involved parties to ensure our story is told accurately, so that the world can recognize, once again, the heroes that made the rescue operation a success.”

Another film about the rescue is apparently on the way from Pure Flix, a religious production company. Last summer, Chu responded to that news by saying he refused “to let Hollywood #whitewashout the Thai cave rescue story.” 

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Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.