Chile's rescued miners to surface again in Hollywood movie 'The 33'

Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:05pm EST
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By Alexandra Ulmer

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile's rescued miners enjoyed the spotlight once again on Friday when they met Antonio Banderas and the other actors who will portray them in the Hollywood film "The 33."

During the 2010 ordeal, the 33 miners trapped 700 meters underground drank oil-contaminated water to survive and set off explosives in a desperate bid to alert rescuers. After 69 days underground, they were lifted one by one to the surface in a spectacle that entranced viewers around the globe.

"I was one of the many millions obsessed with the story," said Banderas at a ceremony with Chilean President Sebastian Piñera and miners held at the presidential palace to greet the actors who have just arrived in Chile for shooting.

"It reflects the value of life in a confused and violent world," the Spanish actor added, before high-fiving Mario Sepulveda, the de facto spiritual leader of the 33 miners who he portrays in the film.

A laughing Sepulveda, known as "Super Mario," jokingly asked "we really look alike, don't we?" as he stood arm-in-arm with a dapper Banderas.

While the rescued miners became celebrities and heroes, several have failed to significantly benefit financially from the media hoopla and some have wrestled with drugs, alcohol and psychological demons.

Luis Urzua, the last miner to be hoisted out of the bowels of the earth, has told local media he is unhappy with the terms of the film contract and is seeking a new lawyer.

But Carlos Barrios, the thirteenth miner to see the light, was pleased that their story was going up on the silver screen.   Continued...

Actor and director Antonio Banderas arrives on the red carpet for the screening of the film "The Paperboy" in competition at the 65th Cannes Film Festival, May 24, 2012. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier