Brow Beat

The Director of Crazy Rich Asians Will “Fight Back” by Making His Own Movie About the Thai Cave Rescue

Narongsak Osotthanakorn, wearing glasses and a brown uniform, speaks into a microphone.
Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn (L) speaks during a press conference at a makeshift press centre in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province on July 11, 2018.
Ye Aung Thu/Getty Images

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a couple of days since the last of the young soccer players were dramatically freed from a cave in northern Thailand, since there are now not one but two movies about the ordeal in the works. Shortly after Christian film studio Pure Flix announced its Thai cave rescue project—which, CEO Michael Scott noted, will be “inspirational” rather than explicitly religious—Crazy Rich Asians director John M. Chu tweeted, “I refuse to let Hollywood #whitewashout the Thai Cave rescue story.”

Now, Chu and Ivanhoe Pictures are developing their own competing film, according to Variety, and have reached out to “the most senior officials in Thailand, both on provincial and national levels” to discuss the rescue. While Chu did not get into details online, he did tweet out several links to news stories about the project, including Variety’s, writing that “We have the power to not only MAKE history but be the historians that RECORD it too.”

Whitewashing concerns, while certainly understandable given Hollywood’s track record, are still a little premature, as we don’t yet know much about how Pure Flix will approach the production. Scott, who is white, lives in Thailand part-time and says he has been on site and in contact with some of the parties involved in the rescue mission. He also claims that his wife was friends with Saman Kunan, the former Thai Navy SEAL who died during the rescue operation.

In the meantime, Discovery has fast-tracked a documentary, Operation Thai Cave Rescue, which will air on the Discovery Channel on Friday.