Three of the Thirteen Lives actors interviewed by Looper were lucky enough to be able to talk directly and regularly to the people they played. Rick Stanton, played by Viggo Mortensen, was on set as a technical adviser for the diving scenes, as was diver James Mallinson (played by Paul Gleason). Mortensen said that even before they met while filming in Australia, “I had a lot of Zoom conversations with [Rick Stanton]trying to hear how he talks and his rhythms, physically and verbally and all that.” Mortensen also noted that Stanton “seems pleased” with the finished film and the accuracy of how everything was portrayed.
Colin Farrell and Tom Bateman also spoke to their characters, John Valentin and Chris Jewell. Farrell notes that while the time zone difference made it difficult to organize with Valentin, “John was really accessible to me” and “was incredibly frank with me about his experiences during those two weeks and how he started cave diving.” and some personal things in his life.”
Bateman says Jewell talked to him for “many hours” and was very responsive to questions. “Personally, I could text Chris every morning if I had a question,” he said. “He told me what he did and what he went through. The work has already been done for us.” Bateman says that many divers, including Jewell, attended the film’s London premiere and praised all of the cast.