‘Thirteen Lives’ Star Joel Edgerton Reflects on Dangerous ‘First Taste of Diving’ With His Father (Exclusive)

Prime Video’s newest movie release is Thirteen Lives, a survival biopic that recounts the real-life 2018 story of a youth soccer team in Thailand, who became trapped in a series of caves after rainwater flooded the tunnels. The film follows the massive rescue effort, made up of military personnel and volunteers from across the globe, including a team of expert cave divers portrayed on-screen by Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, Joel Edgerton, Tom Bateman and Paul Gleeson. PopCulture.com spoke with the cast, ahead of the film release, and during our conversation with Eggerton, Mortenson and Teeradon “James” Supapunpinyo, the former reflected on his the dangerous “first taste of diving” with his father when he was a teenager .

Revealing the memorable event, Edgerton said, “1989, Fiji, Castaway island. 30 foot dive with my dad, who strangely enough, had a couple of false teeth. There was a current, he took his regulator out and he lost his false teeth . And spent the rest of the holidays with a big gap here. So that was my first taste of diving.” He continued, “I was like; if it’s dangerous at 30 feet in Fiji, cut to 20 years later and they’re like, ‘Hey, come be involved in this movie,’ and I’m like, I’ve got to get my PADI license. And then within three weeks, escalate, or ramp up my skill set to pretend to be a 20, 30 year cave diving veteran. All thanks to the magic of movies.”

That “magic,” Edgerton reminds moviegoers, is “really the skill of a great support crew, that held our hand through a series of escalating, complicated tasks.” Laying out just what he and the other actors experienced as they prepared for the task of performing while cave diving, he shared, “Vision, take it away. Equipment, overload you with equipment. Make you go through obstacles. Carry a human being. Now put a camera on you while you do all of that.”

Edgerton continued, “It was amazing. And it was actually fun for the most part. It’s like the adventure of being a child, being an actor. But every now and then it brings home to you that you got to also be incredibly careful, because it underlines just how amazing these divers are, because things can turn on a heel, and when you’re underwater things get dangerous very quickly.”

Other stars of Thirteen Lives include Sahajak “Poo” Boonthankit, Weir Sukollawat Kanarot, Pattrakorn ‘Ploy’ Tungsupakul, Thiraphat Sajakul, Vithaya Pansringarm, Nophand Boonyai, Lewis Fitz-Gerald and U Gambira. Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard directed the movie from a screenplay by William Nicholson, based on a story written by Nicholson and Don Macpherson. Thirteen Lives is now playing in select theaters and on Prime Video.


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