Jennifer Lopez Joins Antonio Banderas For Chilean Miner Drama 'The 33'

Jennifer Lopez is the latest A-list Latino talent signing on to a film project about the heroic rescue of 33 trapped Chilean miners.

Very selective when it comes to her acting roles, Lopez's turn in "The 33" will be first big-screen role since starring in this year's action-thriller “Parker.”

The Hollywood Reporter announced Lopez was joining the ensemble film, along with Martin Sheen and Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro.

At the Cannes Film Festival, it was revealed Antonio Banderas would be playing  Mario Sepúlveda, the man aptly given the nickname "Super Mario" as he took on the role as the public face of the miners.

Mike Medavoy, a producer of "The 33," says the film will dramatize the cave-in at a mine in Chile's Atacama desert and the globally televised rescue of the miners two-month ordeal that mesmerized millions worldwide.

"I'm very excited and full of anxiety. All of my mates are looking forward to this big production," Sepúlveda told The Associated Press .

"Banderas is very charismatic. I like him a lot and I think this movie is going to make him even more famous than he already is," he added.

Even in their despair, Sepulveda said, "peace, love, solidarity and teamwork" were shared by the miners who survived entrapment longer than anyone else before.

"There are people who don't realize the value of what they have next to them. And after those 69 days we know that there's nothing as important as being alive, being healthy and enjoying the people you love while you're alive," he said.

The miners said it felt like an earthquake when the shaft caved in above them on Aug. 5, 2010, filling the lower corridors of the copper and gold mine with suffocating dust. Hours passed before they could even begin to see a few steps in front of them. Above them tons of rock shifted constantly, threatening to bury them forever.

People on the surface didn't know for more than two weeks that the men had survived the collapse. The 33 men had stretched a meager 48-hour store of emergency food for 17 days, eating tiny capsules of tuna and sips of expired milk while a narrow shaft finally reached their haven and the world learned they were alive.

The small emergency shaft allowed food and water to be lowered to the miners while rescuers drilled a bigger escape hole. Finally, in the early hours of Oct. 13, the miners were hauled up one-by-one in a cage through 2,000 feet of rock.

Back on the surface they were received as heroes. They got paid trips to the Greek Islands, visited the Real Madrid stadium in Spain and paraded at Magic Kingdom in Disney World.

But the fantasy began to crumble on their return home.

Many ran out of money and had to scratch out a living in the dusty working-class neighborhoods and shantytowns of the desert city of Copiapo. Some began suffering from health and psychological problems. Others took to alcohol and drugs. Most are still kept up at night by memories of their ordeal.

"I'm thankful for things in life," said Sepulveda, an electrician who earns a living giving motivational speeches. "Some are good, others bad, but God gave us another chance ... The door that was opened for us is huge."

Variety magazine say production for "The 33" is scheduled to start in the fall in Chile. The film will be directed by Mexican filmmaker Patricia Riggen.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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