Director Peter Berg tells the true story of one of the world’s largest man-made disasters which occurred in April 2010, on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and tragically took 11 lives.
Berg once again collaborates with Mark Wahlberg to share the story of men and women, real-life heroes, who faced extraordinary consequences of the Deepwater Horizon – the ultra deep-water drilling rig off the Louisiana coast – that gripped the world as it experienced a devastating blowout, fire and nearly unstoppable ocean floor oil leak.
For 87 days, millions watched as more than 50,000 barrels of oil a day gushed from the sea floor into the Gulf of Mexico. It would become the largest accidental ocean oil spill in human history. The impact to marine life and the questions of what went wrong and why are ongoing even still.
Berg and Wahlberg previously explored a Navy SEAL team mission gone wrong in the Oscar-nominated Lone Survivor, and they are currently filming Patriot's Day, the story of the dramatic events leading up to and after the Boston Marathon bombing.
For Deepwater Horizon, Wahlberg is joined by an incredible cast including Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O’Brien and Kate Hudson.
For Berg, the story’s themes were vivid, stirring and a chance to shed light on an event most often talked about in terms of the environmental, rather than human, impact.
“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.”
Wahlberg plays Mike Williams, the Chief Electronics Technician of the Deepwater Horizon at the time disaster struck. Wahlberg and Williams bonded before the film started shooting and spent a lot of time during production on and off set together.
The filmmakers were excited by the resulting performance. Says producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura: “What Mark brings is honesty and a real sense of blue-collar integrity. He brings out that American ethic of doing hard work, even when you’re working amid forces you can’t necessarily control.”
From the footage and images we have seen so far, Deepwater Horizon looks to be a fitting testament to the 11 oil riggers who lost their lives. It took production designer Chris Seagers and his team, including 85 welders, eight months to build the Deepwater Horizon set, which was created in three separate parts, to 85% scale of the actual rig. The main set weighed in at 2,947,094 lbs and utilised 3.2 million lbs of steel. It even included a functioning helipad where an actual helicopter was landed on the set.
The production also built several water tanks for the oceanic action, with a main tank holding 2,094,400 gallons, taking three days to fill. Seagers says of the painstakingly detailed collaboration with Berg: “Pete’s the kind of guy who knows what he wants and he had one directive: keep it true.”
Certainly Berg is striving for an authentic experience, saying, "... it is very important that we never forget that this is a human story. You always ask, 'Why? Why make this film?' It's a lot of work, and I think there's never a single answer to that question. But if we cannot provide a human experience for an audience, there's no reason to make this film."
Deepwater Horizon opens at Showcase Cinemas on September 30