November 10, 2015 / 1:46 PM / 3 years ago

Chilean miners drama 'The 33' comes to Hollywood

LOS ANGELES - Antonio Banderas and his fellow castmates brought “The 33” to Hollywood on Monday, presenting their true-life drama about the ordeal of 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for more than two months.

At the screening, part of the slate of films playing at this year’s American Film Festival, the actors mingled with the real life miners on whom the drama is based and whose rescue gripped TV viewers around the world.

“We understood very (clearly) that not only just the 33, not only miners, but workers who work in very extreme conditions deserve our respect,” Banderas said, explaining how he and the cast learned about the rescue from the miners themselves.

“By the time we were doing the movie, for us it was very important to represent these people ... to have them in front of us and giving us information that we needed to perform those characters properly and honestly.”

Filmed in both Chile and Columbia, Banderas told Reuters on the red carpet that conditions were challenging.

“It was more difficult than if we had shot it in the studio ... It would have been different, the extreme conditions we were working in, how cold the mine was, how dry, the methane gas that we were breathing the whole entire time,” he said.

“It made you feel like you had the flu, the entire crew was sick for a while. But, it brings a lot of realism, it just makes you understand the lives of these people.”

“The 33” opens in U.S. cinemas on Friday.

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