It wasn’t a case of ‘if’ but ‘when’ some Hollywood studio snapped up the rights to make a film version of the Chilean Miner’s heroic escape from the clutches of our planet’s innards and it seems that Brad Pitt’s production company are in pole position.
The Santiago-based newspaper El Mercurio claim that Pitt’s Plan B have made a multi-million dollar offer to secure the exclusive screen rights to the mining tale of triumph and Edgardo Reinoso, the lawyer representing the miners’ interests, believes several of the rescued men may also be given supporting roles in the picture.
Film afficianados will know that Pitt’s production company have produced the likes of Kick-Ass, Eat, Pray, Love and the fact-based drama A Mighty Heart, which focused on the kidnap and murder of the US journalist Daniel Pearl. While many industry experts admit that the story has all the ingredients to make a box-office smash, there are many variables to work out before filming begins.
“It’s a classic human story with a happy ending, so that bodes well,” Mike Goodridge, editor of the trade magazine Screen International told The Guardian.
“But it’s not necessarily a box-office slam-dunk. You’ve got to face the fact that this is a story that’s set in Chile and will presumably feature an all-Latin cast. It all depends what price they choose to make it for. If it’s a big Hollywood movie, then you’re looking at a budget of about $100m, in which case you need an A-list cast and you have to make it in English.
“But if you go for authenticity, you need to shoot it in Spanish. That’s going to dramatically reduce your audience. All the evidence suggests you can’t make a financially successful Hollywood movie in Spanish. Steven Soderbergh tried it with his Che Guevara biopic, and it just doesn’t work.”
The 33 workers were trapped 700 metres below ground in a San José copper-gold mine following a rock fall in August. After a 69-day ordeal, all 33 were successfully winched to safety on 13 October, watched by an estimated global audience of 1 billion.
They have now taken on the status of celebrities and experts believe they could stand to make up to $100m from the sale of their story and related endorsements. “The amounts that they could earn are potentially huge,” Phil Hall, chairman of the London-based PR agency PHA Media, told the Financial Times. “But if the miners decide to do anything – a book, potentially a film – they should pool the resources. Otherwise it will break up the camaraderie they built so carefully in the mine.”
In the event that Brad Pitt does take charge of the project, it is likely that he will be beaten to the punch by a rival production The 33 Of San Jose which started filming five days after the rescue.