EXCLUSIVE: Juliette Binoche, James Brolin, and Oscar Nunez have joined Antonio Banderas in the Chilean miners movie The 33, which is based on the true events of the collapsed Copiapo copper mine and the 33 miners who remained trapped more than 2,000 feet underground. The 2010 news story captured worldwide media attention. Rounding out the cast are Kate Del Castillo (Weeds) Lou Diamond Phillips, Mario Casas, Juan Pablo Raba, Tenoch Huerta, Jacob Vargas, Marco Trevino and Alejandro Goic. Binoche replaces Jennifer Lopez in the strong female role, after Lopez dropped out in September due to scheduling conflicts after rejoining Fox’s American Idol.
Mike Medavoy secured the miners’ exclusive life rights last year and developed the project in collaboration with the men, their rescuers and their families. He will produce along with Robert Katz and Edward McGurn. Patricia Riggen (La Misma Luna, Girl In Progress) will direct. Carlos Eugenio Lavin and Leopoldo Enriquez are exec producing. The film is being shot on location in Bogata and surrounding areas with 50% of the production to be shot in Chile. It’s interesting to note that visual effects will be overseen by Ben Grossman, who won an Oscar for Hugo.
The unfolding saga of the trapped miners played out over three months in the media. In the beginning, it was not known whether the miners were even alive. It took 17 days before a note was sent to the surface that let rescuers and the world know that 33 men were still alive in the mine. Those men would be trapped for a total of 69 days and kept viewers glued to the televisions when drill bits kept breaking as rescuers tried to get through rock as deep as “twice the size of the Empire State building.” The miners become instant celebrities in their country and for a short time around the world after they were rescued.