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CHIANG RAI – The fight to acquire the movie rights to the Moo Pa (Wild Boar) Academy youth soccer team’s dramatic rescue story is now down to two major production companies.
The long-running negotiations over film rights are getting closer to a deal, according to two sources with knowledge of the talks, who asked not to be identified because of possible reprisals from the Thai Government.
ABC News Australia reported that representatives of two competing film companies will meet with family members on February 25 to discuss their offers.
The 12 players and coach of the Moo Pa (Wild Boar) Academy in Mae Sai became international celebrities after their dramatic rescue from a flooded cave in July.
While an American agent has touted verbal agreements between several key players in the rescue and Universal Studios, no formal deals have been completed with the boys’ families.
On advice from the Thai Government, the families have registered a company called Thirteen Tham Luang Co Ltd, with coach Ekkapol Chantawong appointed as the director.
“From now on every deal has to go through this company,” a source close to the negotiations told ABC. The Thai Government has suggested appointing a well-known beauty pageant winner as a negotiator for the families.
Fairfax media has reported the two Australian divers who played key roles in the rescue will receive US$1 million ($1.37 million) each for a movie-and-book deal with Universal Pictures and the publisher Ballantine.
“Richard ‘Harry’ Harris and Craig Challen, who were instrumental in the rescue of the Wild Boars soccer team in July, have verbally agreed to the deal,” Fairfax reported.
Meanwhile, Thai-born director Tom Waller’s take on the 19-day drama that unfolded in a flooded Chiang Rai cave last year is eyeing a July release date to coincide with the anniversary of the football team’s rescue, and National Geographic has been filming a documentary at the cave.