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Ordeal of Trapped Chilean Miners Depicted in 'The 33'

  • Reuters

Actor Antonio Banderas, center, is pictured with Alex Vega, right, and Mario Gomez, two of the 33 workers trapped in a Chilean mine in 2010, at a preview of "The 33" in Santiago, Chile, August 2, 2015.

Actor Antonio Banderas, center, is pictured with Alex Vega, right, and Mario Gomez, two of the 33 workers trapped in a Chilean mine in 2010, at a preview of "The 33" in Santiago, Chile, August 2, 2015.

Spanish actor Antonio Banderas is bringing the ordeal of 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for more than two months to the cinema screen, five years after the drama of their rescue gripped TV viewers around the world.

The men were trapped 700 meters (2,300 feet) underground after their gold-and-copper mine collapsed in Chile's northern Atacama Desert.

They were feared dead until on the 17th day, knocking was heard on a drill head that had reached the depths of the mine. Rescuers then found a note attached to the drill reading: "The 33 of us in the shelter are well."

After 69 days underground, they were lifted out individually to the surface.

At a Santiago news conference, Banderas, who portrays miner Mario Sepulveda in "The 33," recalled how viewers around the world watched the rescue operation unfold on television.

"In other countries, it was seen as a great achievement by a country," he said.

Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro said it was challenging to tell the complex story in just a few hours and that focusing on a handful of characters was a good choice.

"The movie is based on the story of the miners, the 33. So I think that it must be synthesized — a few characters must be chosen to tell the entire story," he said.

The film also stars French Academy Award winner Juliette Binoche and American actor James Brolin.

The cast and crew met Chile's President Michelle Bachelet before the film's release there on August 6.

"The 33" is scheduled to hit U.S. cinemas in November.

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