The Tham Luang cave rescue captivated the world’s attention when a children’s soccer team and their coach were trapped by heavy rains inside a deep cave system. The resulting multi-national rescue mission was an astonishing feat, and its success has echoed into the imaginations of multiple film and TV projects. That includes a project from director Jon Chu, the drama The Cave from Tom Waller, a documentary from National Geographic, a docuseries from Netflix, and the Ron Howard project Thirteen Lives. Set for release tomorrow, it stars Colin Farrell, Joel Edgerton, and a thankfully-still-alive Viggo Mortensen.
As it turns out, even the filming of the rescue came with its own dangers. Speaking with People, Mortensen explained how one of the valves to his oxygen tank turned off while he was inside one of the replica caves. “All of a sudden I couldn’t breathe,” Mortensen told People. “It seemed like a long time, but it was only a matter of seconds. I panicked.” Before filming, the actor trained with Rick Stanton, the real-life hero he’s portraying, understanding the person he’s meant to be playing and getting technical advice that ultimately saved him. After he pushed past the panic, Mortensen was able to do a simple maneuver that fixed the issue. “It’s not that complicated. But at the moment, it’s hard to think clearly.”
No kidding. Now we have Stanton to thank for Mortensen’s survival, too. Naturally, the rest of the interview features the Lord of the Rings star describing other moments where he almost died in water, and the list is long enough (more than one time) to cement his status as a legit daredevil who should bring a reserve oxygen tank with him at all times. Please, stay safe out there, Viggo.