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Banderas: Film about dramatic Chile mine rescue is 'ode to life'

Banderas: Film about dramatic Chile mine rescue is 'ode to life'

Posted by PanamericanWorld on November 08, 2015

Five years after the world was captivated by the rescue of 33 Chilean miners who had been trapped deep underground for more than two months, that real-life saga is being brought to the big screen in an English-language film that lead actor Antonio Banderas describes as an "ode to life."

In an interview with EFE, the Spanish actor hailed the film as a "historic" occasion, noting that a Hispanic film, with a mostly Hispanic cast, a Hispanic director and a Hispanic story would be screened in 2,500 U.S. theaters starting Nov. 13.

"Consideration was given to filming in Spanish, but unfortunately English continues to reign supreme in the market," Banderas said of "The 33," which is directed by Mexican Patricia Riggen and also features Rodrigo Santoro, Mario Casas, Kate del Castillo and Cote de Pablo as cast members.

"For a film to have the audience we dreamed of having, that's only possible if you shoot it in English. The Hispanic audience accounts for 25 percent of total annual movie-goers in the United States, so Spanish is a language that can be financially attractive, but that moment's hasn't yet arrived," the actor said.

To increase the film's box-office appeal in the United States, its producers recruited leading cinematic figures such as French actress Juliette Binoche, Irish actor Gabriel Byrne and U.S. film score orchestrator James Horner, who died in June in a plane crash.

The film tells a story of struggle, personal transformation and the triumph of the human spirit in terribly adverse circumstances, seen not only in the miners but also their loved ones and others who worked to bring them back to the surface.

"The audience will encounter something unfamiliar: they're going to get to know the protagonists intimately," Banderas, who plays the miners' leader, Mario Sepulveda, said, expressing admiration for the group's ability to "keep their sense of humor in the most dramatic moments."

"That's something they love to talk about. They even played a soccer match!" the actor recalled, highlighting their "extraordinary struggle ... to survive and return to their poverty."

The 55-year-old Banderas said one of the most fascinating aspects of the story was the perseverance of the miners' families in pressuring politicians into exhausting all efforts to rescue their loved ones, who became trapped inside the San Jose mine in Chile's Atacama region on Aug. 5, 2010, and were rescued one-by-one on Oct. 13 of that year.

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