Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Craig Borten has signed to rewrite/polish The 33, the survival struggle of 33 miners trapped far below the earth after a cave-in in Copiapo, Chile, in 2010. It is Borten’s first job since writing with Melissa Wallack on Dallas Buyers Club, the fact-based drama that generated strong Oscar buzz at the Toronto Film Festival.

In another development on the film, Jennifer Lopez has just dropped out of The 33, because of a scheduling problem that cropped up when she committed to a return to American Idol. The 33 will be directed by La Misma Luna’s Patricia Riggen, with Antonio Banderas and Martin Sheen committed to star in the rescue tale that is being produced by Mike Medavoy, Robert Katz and Edward McGurn. Carlos Eugenio Lavin and Leopoldo Enriquez will be exec producers. “These 33 men went into that mine every day for the sake of their families, and they almost lost their lives because of it,” Medavoy said. “The irony of the movie is that, except for the fame the disaster brought them, they haven’t been rightfully compensated for their struggle.” The miners spent over two months awaiting rescue as the world watched and numerous countries sent help. The U.S. sent a NASA team and an American driller.

Production begins November 25 in South America. Borten is repped by by UTA and Karl Austen.

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