Let the talk of Hollywood "white-washing" history continue. Irish thesp, Gabriel Byrne, has signed on to play Chilean engineer, André Sougarret, in The 33. The film will chronicle the miraculous rescue of 33 miners in Chile, who became trapped when a mine they were working on caved in on them. They spent over two months below ground, with little to no hope of surviving. Sougarret is the man credited with masterminding the efforts that would eventually see all the men come out safely, 69 days after their ordeal began.
Casting like this could bring the film under fire from the same folks that were upset about how Maria Belon and Quique Alvarez became Maria and Henry when their harrowing tale of survival during the 2004 tsunami in Thailand was made into a film, so that Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor could play them. The 33 will also star French actress Juliette Binoche, Antonio Banderas, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Rodrigo Santoro.
Byrne's most iconic role is probably Dean Keaton in The Usual Suspects, though the actor has had quite a prolific career. In recent years, he's been seen quite a bit on television, in shows like Vikings and In Treatment. His last big feature film was 2005's Assault on Precinct 13. His next major release is coming up in a couple of weeks, and is called Vampire Academy.
The 33 will be directed by Patricia Riggen (Girl In Progress), and is filming in Colombia as well as in Chile. The film is scheduled to be released later this year.