'Thirteen Lives' Actor Teeradon 'James' Supapunpinyo Talks Portrayal of Soccer Coach Trapped With Team in Thailand Caves (Exclusive)

Thirteen Lives is the new Amazon Studios film directed by Oscar-winner Ron Howard, that tells the story of a Thai junior soccer team and their coach who became trapped in a cave after the tunnel system flooded, due to heavy rainfall. Actor Teeradon "James" Supapunpinyo portrays the team's coach and delivers an incredible performance, powerfully capturing how crucial Coach was to the boys' survival, as well as his profound sorrow at feeling responsible. However, Coach soon came to learn that the children's parents did not harbor resentment, as they were grateful he kept the boys alive for several days without food and clean water by teaching them meditation methods to help with hunger.

Supapunpinyo revealed exclusively to PopCulture.com, that prior to filming he never met Coach, so his performance was based solely on script and research. "Actually, I never met him before... But I have to do research about him, how he speak, how he act, how he treat the boys and then how his voice, how his accent. So, I have to Google to see what is happening four years ago. And I see a lot of interviews when he talks. And then finding some news that sees later, that he write out to the parents, they also show like the real letters, so I try to catch up all of this and combine together to make it like the real Coach." 

Supapunpinyo continued: "Then also the meditation, I have to learn to meditation. I have to diet, and reduce my weight because the first scene that we shot is in the cave. So I have to look very thin to make it real. I have to exercise about my collar bone, about my jawline, to make it visible. I've done a lot of preparation for this character. Coach is important, but I think the important person in this movie is everybody. The group needs everybody to come together, [and] make this mission possible, then yeah, we can get it done." 

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Thirteen Lives stars Colin Farrell, Viggo Mortensen, Joel Edgerton, Tom Bateman, and Paul Gleeson as rescue team members who travel to Thailand and worked to bring the boys out of the cave. Other stars of the film include Weir Sukollawat Kanarot, Pattrakorn 'Ploy' Tungsupakul, Thiraphat Sajakul, Sahajak "Poo" Boonthanakit, Vithaya Pansringarm, Teeradon "James" Supapunpinyo, Nophand Boonyai, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, and U Gambira. Howard directed the film from a screenplay by William Nicholson, based on a story written by Nicholson and Don Macpherson. Thirteen Lives is now playing in select theaters and on Prime Video.