One of man’s worst disasters created by his own hands was the event that happened on the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20 of 2010. The crew was six weeks behind schedule and the cost of doing so was rising substantially. The management put pressure on the crew to finish the well as quick as possible.
There were 126 crew members working that day when the blowout occurred followed by an impossible blaze and unthinkable oil spill. More than 50,000 barrels of oil came rushing out, per day, impacting the sea floor. This weekend, Summit Entertainment and Participant Media present the dramatization of these horrific events focusing not only on the crew at sea but also on the families watching from home.
Deepwater Horizon stars Mark Walberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O’Brien, and Kate Hudson under the direction of Petr Berg. Wahlberg plays Mike Wiliams, a Transocean chief electronics technician who was shocked when the Deepwater Horizon defense failed to prevent this incredible blowout. From then on out, his goal was to get out alive and along with his crew. For Berg, this was an important tale to tell the masses.
“I’m drawn to tales of human courage and of the human spirit trying to triumph over real adversity – and those elements are the heart of this story,” says Berg. “The men and women aboard the Deepwater Horizon were extremely intelligent and capable and they tried everything they could to prevent the blowout. It’s important to remember that 11 people lost their lives on the rig, and more were injured. In the middle of all the deserved attention for the oil spill, that heroism has almost been lost. This film is a chance to tell that story.”
For Williams, he didn’t know if Hollywood could portray the horrific events that happened accurately on film.
“Once Pete told me ‘this is a story about survivors,’ I agreed to come on board. The oil field is not very well understood by outsiders,” says Williams who came on board as a consultant for the film. “It’s a very close-knit community, so I think this is a great opportunity to show the world what these men and women do out there.”
For producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, he knew that Walhberg was right for the part.
“What Mark brings is honesty and a real sense of blue-collar integrity. He brings out that American ethics of doing hard work, even when you’re working amid forces you can’t necessarily control.”
Throughout the ordeal, Williams works together with oil rig worker Andrea Fleytas. Fleytas is portrayed by Gina Rodriguez who is the star of the CW TV show, Jane the Virgin. Some will wonder if the actress would be seasoned enough to play the part convincingly. For Bonaventura, there was no doubt.
“The true life Andrea is a real character and Gina bring great energy and an essential goodness to who she is as a person. She also captures what it’s like to be a 23-year-old woman in the middle of a crazy, ultimately catastrophic situation,” says di Bonaventura.
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For Rodriguez, in order to portray this amazing woman accurately, she knew that she would have to do a lot of research. “Pete was all about trying to be as authentic as possible, so I did a lot of my own research and even went to dynamic positioning after the officer training in Houston,” says Rodriguez. “It was quite the experience.”
Kurt Russell plays Jimmy Harrell, the offshore installation manager and crew boss for the Deepwater Horizon. Because Harrell was greatly respected by his team, Berg knew that he needed an actor that would equally be well-received with the other actors. Russell was amazed by the teamwork when under pressure. “You realize that in this very dangerous world, when things go wrong, human beings can only try to make the right decisions,” says Russell. “These are not black-and-white kinds of decisions. It’s a difficult thing to face.”
Russel’s own daughter, Kate Hudson, gets a role in this film as well. She plays Williams’ wife Felicia in a whole different role: the worried wife and mother at home who must remain strong for her children. “What’s exciting about this film is that people will not only understand more about what happened on the Deepwater Horizon but also get to know these people and the actual experience of how terrifying and challenging it was.”
Deepwater Horizon opens in theaters on Friday, September 30.
[Featured Image via Summit Entertainment]