Antonio Banderas will star in “The 33,” based on the true story of the 33 Chilean miners who were rescued after being trapped for 69 days in 2010.
Producer Mike Medavoy made the announcement Sunday at Cannes, where Good Universe is handling international sales. Production is scheduled to begin in the fall in Chile with Ed McGurn also producing.
Martin Sheen and Rodrigo Santoro are on board as part of the ensemble. Patricia Riggen (“La Misma Luna”) was attached to direct last fall.
The screenplay has been written by Mikko Alanne and Jose Rivera. Story dramatizes the events surrounding the mine’s collapse and the international effort to rescue them, which culminated in the emotional retrieval of all 33 miners trapped half a mile beneath the surface. The rescue was watched by more 1 billion viewers worldwide.
Banderas will play the role of Mario Sepulveda, the charismatic miner known as “Super Mario.”
Medavoy secured the miners’ exclusive life rights last year and developed the project in collaboration of the miners, the rescuers and their families. He had lived for a decade in Chile.
Medavoy previously worked with Sheen on “Apocalypse Now” while he was at United Artists, and with Santoro in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” Santoro will be playing Florencio, the first miner to surface in the rescue.
Carlos Eugenio Lavin and Leopoldo Enriquez are exec producing.
Medavoy’s recent producing credits include Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” and Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island.”
In parallel to the film, journalist and author Hector Tobar is writing the official book on the miners’ story, using previously undivulged details, including specifics on the miners’ first 17 days of entrapment before they had any contact with the outside world.
Banderas will be seen next in Robert Rodriguez’ “Machete Kills.”