EXCLUSIVE: In what will be her first acting role since leaving network TV’s most-watched series NCIS, Cote De Pablo has been cast in The 33, the feature film based on the 2010 rescue of 33 Chilean miners after being trapped 69 days in the Copiapo gold and copper mine more than half an mile below the earth’s surface. Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche and Rodrigo Santoro are among those already aboard the ensemble cast of the pic, which is now in production in Chile and Colombia with Patricia Riggen directing. The script is from Craig Borten (Dallas Buyers Club) and Michael Thomas.
De Pablo, who was born in Chile and whose mother still lives there, will play a wife of one of the trapped miners, who became international stars following their dramatic rescue that played out live worldwide. Her scenes will be shot in Chile’s Atacama Desert near where the actual event, and the subsequent rescue efforts took place. She is repped by Paradigm.
It was a shocker when De Pablo departed NCIS in July after contract negotiations with CBS and producer CBS TV Studios went south ahead of the series’ current 11th season. She had been the last among the cast to sign their deal, and the network said the decision to exit was hers. She returned for enough shows this season to finish out the storyline of her character Ziva David, which she had played for eight years. CBS chief Leslie Moonves later said of the failed talks: “We offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money — and then we offered even more money. We didn’t want to lose her.”
Mike Medavoy is producing The 33 with Robert Katz and Edward McGurn. Carlos Eugenio Lavin, Leopoldo Enriquez and Alan Zhang are executive producing.