The twelve Thai boys and their soccer coach who were trapped in a flooded cave last summer will soon tell their story on Netflix. On Tuesday, they formally signed a deal with the online streaming giant.
Ekkapol Chantapong, assistant coach of the soccer club, welcomed the news of the miniseries at a press conference Tuesday in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok.
“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 in a press release.
“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,” the coach added.
Erika North, Netflix’s director of international originals, said in the release that the story of the team’s escape “combines so many unique local and universal themes which connected people from all walks of life, from all around the world.”
Though the deal was only formalized this week, Netflix announced last month it was partnering with the production company SK Global Entertainment, which produced the romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians,” and a Thai government venture to scrutinize bids for the team’s rights.
The miniseries is expected to be directed by “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu and Thai director Nattawut “Baz” Poonpiriya.
Despite previous concerns that the deal would lock in lifetime rights for SK Global Entertainment to use the teenagers’ stories, Chantapong—who has also acted as a representative for the boys in the negotiations—stated that this was not the case.
“It’s only temporary rights, which may have access to information before and after the incident,” Chantapong said at the press conference. “It’s only a short-term, not a life-time exclusive rights.”
The plight of the group, all members of a local soccer team known as the Wild Boars, captivated audiences around the world in the summer of 2018 when they became trapped deep inside in a submerged cave complex in northern Thailand.
A daring international rescue effort was launched to reach the boys, who were between 11 and 16 years old at the time. They and their coach were trapped in the dark without food until they were found by authorities.
Divers involved in the rescue described dangerous conditions, with fast-moving shallow water passing through very narrow passages – the conditions were so treacherous that one Thai Navy SEAL died during the operations.
The successful rescue of all 13 members of the group was hailed as a “miracle,” and the boys subsequently spent nine days living in a Buddhist monastery.
The team members have since become minor celebrities, traveling the world to participate in soccer events and appear on TV.
CNN’s Helen Regan, Kocha Olarn and Matthew Robinson contributed to this report