Antonio Banderas has signed on to play Mario Sepulveda aka “Super Mario” in an upcoming film recounting the events of August to October 2010, when 33 Chilean miners survived for 69 days underground following a cave in. Sepulveda was among the leaders of “Los 33,” a self-described jokester who helped keep the morale of the group high during their ordeal. Martin Sheen and Rodrigo Santoro (300‘s Xerxes) are also reportedly in talks to join the picture.
The 33 is being produced by Mike Medavoy, recently involved with the likes of Black Swan and Shutter Island. Medavoy, who lived in Chile as a child, is said to have collaborated with the real miners, their families, and rescuers in developing the project. The screenplay was written by Jose Rivera (On the Road, The Motorcycle Diaries) and Mikko Alanne (5 Days of War), and the film, currently in pre-production, will be directed by Patricia Riggen (Girl in Progress, Under the Same Moon).
The movie promises access to details that have not previously been released. Although there have been books and, of course, numerous news articles published since their rescue, the miners have generally been careful about how they’ve told their story to the public. The first 17 days of the miners’ entrapment, before contact with the surface was established, is of particular interest.