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August 17, 2022

Joel Edgerton, Viggo Mortensen, And ‘James’ Supapunpinyo On Thirteen Lives’ Challenges

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How did you go about researching your characters?

Joel Edgerton: Unfortunately I didn’t [Richard Harris] with us on set, but we had access. This was such a well reported event, especially…not so much in the early reporting but in the deeper details and execution of the rescue for us diver playing guys who had access to interviews and books written by the divers were and really got[ting] in your head. Additionally, some of us were fortunate enough to have conversations with our real people and this incredible team of divers who assisted us in getting into the real physical research and training for what we needed to do.

Teeradon “James” Supapunpinyo: I haven’t met the real coach…but I researched it [involved] watch[ing] him on the news [on] YouTube and so on [let me] watch him speak. [How] Did he act when he was with the boys? I started copying him. Another thing is the accent I need to speak in…not a Thai accent but a dialect that needs to be changed.

[My character, the] Trainer, he has been a monk for eight years, so he knows how to meditate in a Buddhist way. I went to the temple and needed to learn how to meditate in a Thai Buddhist way. [Finally], I had to reduce my weight. I had to diet in quarantine. I remember in 14 days I was eating about 700 calories a day and I had to burn and I had to do an exercise bike and exercise [targeting] my jawline to make [the bones] visible.

Viggo Mortensen: You look a lot better now.

James: Yes.

mortensen You looked good then, like you’re supposed to look, but now you look a lot healthier.

James: Many Thanks. Healthier now.

mortensen Rick Stanton, the guy I play, was our technical advisor on the scuba stuff. He was present at our rehearsals and coached us all, as did Jason Mallinson, one of the other divers who accomplished this feat… I prepared but before we came to Australia I did a lot of zooms to get along with speaking to him, trying to hear how he spoke and his rhythm, physically and verbally and all that.

He gradually shared lots of pictures and videos and information about the rescue so I could imagine what it would have been like to do it. When we arrived in Australia and were together we had a lot of time in the water with these guys and that helped us to copy their diving style which is very specific to cave diving.



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