Thirteen Lives star Colin Farrell might have spent a lot of time in the survival biopic wearing a wetsuit and heavy air tanks, but the actor admits it was a significant difference from the Penguin costume he wore The Batman. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Farrell, as well as his co-stars Tom Bateman and Sahajak “Poo” Boonthankit, talked about the new film and the vigorous work it took to tell this story as realistically as possible. Thirteen Lives stars Farrell and Bateman — along with Viggo Mortensen, Joel Edgerton, and Paul Gleeson — as part of the rescue diving team who helped save a Thai soccer team who became trapped in the Tham Luang cave network during an unexpected rainstorm.
Comparing the two wardrobes, Farrell shared, “The Penguin thing was kind of seamless… Plus it was all soft and padded. It was just like getting a hug from an old friend, and we were shooting night shoots in London, so it was pretty chilly, but I was well insulated. So that was all good. [But] now walking around with the tanks outside of the water was the most awkward, physically awkward aspect of the whole shoot for me. There were moments where we had the tanks on and we’re walking up the steps — there was no way to do it without kind of f—ing up your back and all that jazz. But yeah, and then it got mentally testing in the water, physically testing outside the water.”
Speaking to THR in a previous interview, Farrell opened up about what it was like to be submerged in such a tight space and how that impacted him mentally. “I had a couple of really panicky moments underwater when I had to say to myself, ‘Just relax. Be calm. You’re fine. There’s nothing to worry about. Your tank is good, you’ve got a 60 percent full tank . Just slow your breath down. It’s OK,” he shared. “At times, there was no surface above your head, just a ceiling and it was incredibly nerve-racking and I was incredibly uncomfortable. There was no light and you would wait for [the crew] to get on the speakers to tell you the camera was rolling. But if you were underwater when they called ‘action,’ you might not hear the f—ing speaker so everyone is looking at everyone else underwater. If something happened, someone might back up into you and hit your f—ing mask [pushing it sideways]. All of a sudden – hello, panic attack.”
In addition to Farrell and Bateman, Viggo Mortensen, Joel Edgerton, and Paul Gleeson also play rescue team members. Other stars of Thirteen Lives include Weir Sukollawat Kanarot, Pattrakorn ‘Ploy’ Tungsupakul, Thiraphat Sajakul, Vithaya Pansringarm, Teeradon “James” Supapunpinyo, Nophand Boonyai, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, and U Gambira. The film is directed by Ron Howard, from a screenplay by William Nicholson, based on a story he wrote with Don Macpherson. Thirteen Lives is now playing in select theaters and on Amazon Prime Video.