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Story of Trapped Chilean Miners Headed for Big Screen

Trapped Chile Miners Rescue

In this photo released by the Chilean government, miner Alex Vega gestures after being rescued from the collapsed San Jose gold and copper mine where he had been trapped with 32 other miners for over two months near Copiapo, Chile, Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010.

NEW YORK -- The story of the Chilean miners who were trapped underground for more than two months is on its way to the big screen.

The 33 miners have sold the rights to their story to producer Mike Medavoy, according to an announcement Monday from the miners' representatives and Medavoy. The planned film will recount the remarkable plight of the miners who were trapped for 69 days after the San Jose mine they were working in collapsed near Copiapo, Chile.

The veteran producer Medavoy, who grew up in Chile, has produced films including "Shutter Island" and "Black Swan." "Motorcycle Diaries" screenwriter Jose Rivera is set to write the script.

"At its heart, this is a story about the triumph of the human spirit and a testament to the courage and perseverance of the Chilean people," Medavoy said in a statement. "I can't think of a better story than this one to bring to the screen."

Miner Juan Andrew Illanes called the project "the only official and authorized film about what we lived in the San Jose mine." The miners are collectively represented by William Morris Endeavor Entertainment.

"Much of our story has never been told," Illanes said.

The film will face obvious dramatic hurdles in that its conclusion -- that all the miners were safely rescued -- is already widely known. That much of their trial was in utter darkness, too, wouldn't seem to easily lend itself to a cinematic rendering.

No studio is yet attached to distribute the film.

The production will also draw on the book being written about the miners by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hector Tobar. He has been spending weeks immersing himself in the miners' stories and combing through the diary of one miner, Victor Segovia. The book doesn't yet have a publisher.

"There is a deep, textured story there waiting to be told," Tobar said in an interview. "There is a deep, emotional book about family and faith, full of all sorts of psychological textures, waiting to be written."

Production is scheduled to begin next year.

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