Thirteen Lives Interview: Viggo Mortensen & Joel Edgerton Talk Heroics

ComingSoon editor-in-chief Tyler Treese spoke Thirteen lives Viggo Mortensen & Joel Edgerton star in recreating real-life heroes in the Ron Howard film. It streams on Prime Video on August 5.

Thirteen lives tells the incredible true story of the massive global effort to save a Thai soccer team trapped in the Tham Luang cave during an unexpected rainstorm,” says the synopsis. “Faced with insurmountable odds, a team of the world’s most skilled and experienced dive – uniquely able to navigate the maze of flooded, narrow cave tunnels – alongside Thai forces and more than 10,000 volunteers to attempt a harrowing rescue of the twelve boys and their coach. With improbably high stakes and the whole world watching, the group embarks on their most challenging dive yet, showing the limitlessness of the human spirit in the process.”



Tyler Treese: Viggo, can you describe the challenges of filming in the water? It must have been such a huge amount of work from all facets of the production, but it leads to these amazing images.

Viggo Mortensen: Well, there were many good things, things in between, and things that were scary about it. One of the things I really liked as an actor is that when I was underwater, no one could come after me. I was alone and it was beautiful. It’s like, well, you can kind of hear if someone like yells, “ah, wait, cut!” Or “come back to the surface.” You could take your time for that. You are under there. It’s like I’m alone… I’m free. There was something nice about it, but the downside is that it’s scary because you’re alone. Even if there is safety, divers nearby, things can quickly go wrong underwater. So be careful, remember your training, take care of each other and so on.

I don’t think any of us knew…we imagined it was going to be hard to learn the things we were going to learn, but we had no idea how hard it was going to be in general. We did it in stages. At first we learned in this big pool with nothing. No caves, no narrows, no current. Then we went through an episode for about a week and it was difficult and we thought it was quite difficult. And the next time it was harder. The difficulty kept increasing from week to week to week. Longer, sections, narrower sections, stronger current, stalactites, stalagmites… so okay, now you’re transporting a real human. You must not bump their head, do not hit their mask, because if it fills with water, they will drown immediately. It’s like, “uh, okay.” So I know Joel, for example, had all his gear, kid, so they’ve strapped a camera on him and he’s trying to get… I mean, if they had thrown all that at us, which we’d say a month if, we would have been completely overwhelmed.

I think that in the beginning we would not have been able to do that. It was well planned. We were well trained, but you had to absorb it and do it. It was a great experience and really a sense of achievement and an honor to represent these people who really did things.

Joel, Dr. Harris is such a key figure in the rescue and he had such an incredible weight on his shoulders. You really repeat it on camera. Walk me through doing that task.

Joel Edgerton: I didn’t know what the actual mechanics behind the rescue were. All I knew at the beginning of 2018 was [that] boys trapped in a cave, 10 days later they find the boys, discuss how to get them out, and suddenly they were out. And then the question of how they did it came up when they got involved in this project and really started to look into Harry and his key role in it with his medical background as an anesthesiologist. What I really hadn’t understood yet, and I came to understand, is just the weight of the responsibility he felt in being given the choice to say, “yes, I will do it” or “I won’t do it”. ” To offer, to help the children like that… he thought would surely result in the death of one or more of the children or maybe all of them.

But if he didn’t help, they would most likely all have perished. So go in and know, “I’m going to do this,” and as a doctor know that your job is to help your fellow man, but to put yourself aside and say, “I’m going to take the risk. I’m going to take the risk because there is a chance this could work.” I found that as a father … Harry is a father and I was becoming a father, caring for children, like an emotional thing. This story is full of physical skills, physical challenges, incredible moves in the eye of the needle challenges and yet supporting so much of it with the parents, the coach and his guilt, all aspects, so many emotional hurdles to overcome, that’s the great achievement of all of this is that all these people came together, put themselves aside, dissolved all things , that divides us, and solved an impossible problem.

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