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“Who wants to see a movie about 33 guys in a hole?” – Producer Mike Medavoy

The 33 Press Conf101
THE 33 NYC Press Conf. | L to R: Rodrigo Santoro, Antonio Banderas, Lou Diamond Phillips, Patricia Riggen, Mike Medavoy | Image Credit: Lee Romero

From 9/11, to 2004’s Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, and everything else in-between and after, the unfolding of these tragedies (man-made or natural) hijack our minds, bodies, and souls. In some way, shape, or fashion, the magical existence that is the human-race will reluctantly accept and deal with unnecessary horrors. Some, if not most, never have quite the Disney ending we hope for, but amidst an abyss of destruction and uncertainty lives love. And most of the time, love always outweighs the negatives.

Added to the unfortunate realities of such tragedies, the world (including yourself) will always remember how we became aware of these poor 33 souls who wound up buried two hundred stories beneath a Chilean mine, the ruckus it caused to locate these men before time ran out, and the gripping, emotional experience when getting those men out of there alive.

Who wants to see a movie about 33 guys in a hole?” says producer Mike Medavoy of WB’s THE 33 at a recent NYC press conference for the film. Truth is, most of us. Coming off more like two films (below and above), “dealing with the essence of what the village was called – hope” is an understatement expressed by Medavoy as well when pealing layers of what inspired such a passionate piece.

As the first person on board for the ride, Antonio Banderas (who plays Mario Sepulveda) breaks the ice of compassion by believing during the actual events that “many people around the world right now are feeling what I’m feeling.” The sense of hope, desire, and as much will as those who were stuck beneath. Life’s simplicities are the biggest necessities for survival. Breaking down a bit more when describing a certain heart-tugging scene, it’s the “hug of your sister, the stare of your mother, or daughter. Something as simple as an empanada becomes unbelievably important.” The overall struggle and choosing to believe is a “bet for life,” he says as well.

A bio-drama of such experience would absolutely entail a harsh shoot. “We lived the humble life,” recalls Lou Diamond Phillips (who plays Don Lucho). Tight and with as much will and desire, “we shot the whole time underground in a mine in Colombia,” says director Patricia Riggen. “Thirty-five days in the mine, fourteen hours a day, six days a week” – and that’s just ONE part of the film. The other, “exteriors in the desert in Chile. A few minutes from the place where it really happened.” Two countries, two stories, two different views of survival.

As a whole, both the film and its journey seemed to run parallel in terms of love and unity, with an ending only written in fairy-tales. In the end, you as a viewer will be left to relive the moment in different form. However, no matter what your outcome, one cannot deny the drive on both ends of the spectrum was driven by a true story of unconditional love and support.

If interested, as usual, below I’ve provided uncut rawdio of the entire WB press conference held at the Waldorf Astoria on Friday, October 30th.

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