It hasn’t been in the news for several years, but the explosion, fire and subsequent oil spill resulting from the blowout at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20, 2010 was a significant event in modern history; costing the lives of nearly a dozen workers, unleashing an unprecedented environmental catastrophe that came to be known as the BP Oil Spill and turning offshore oil-drilling, previously an energy-industry field little acknowledged by mainlanders and those outside the business, into a contentious global political issue.
However, before all that became a discussion topic for government committees and media analysts, it was a deadly disaster to be survived. Now, a trailer has dropped for the film Deepwater Horizon – a movie that will dramatize the events leading up to the disaster and the struggle to survive by those caught in the midst of it.
Much of what occurred (or did not occur) on Deepwater Horizon remains controversial to this day, with BP executives having been accused of covering up or downplaying the role of poor safety measures and lax concerns in creating the circumstances that caused the blowout. Mark Wahlberg stars in Deepwater Horizon as Mike Williams, an electrician who became the public face of the event when he detailed the actions of himself and his fellow crewmembers during the fire in a harrowing 60 Minutes interview – and later gave bombshell testimony to investigators, alleging that misconduct by corporate superiors was to blame for the blowout going as badly as it did.
While the film will likely draw new controversy by revisiting the events, which are still the subject of scrutiny by international organizations and study by environmental groups (the event is still considered the largest accidental marine oil spill in the world, and the largest environmental disaster in United States history); the production itself looks to eschew the politics of the event in favor of presenting a survival narrative likely in the vein of a disaster movie. While Wahlberg’s Williams is likely to take the role of the man who tries to warn the others of impending danger, John Malkovich will play a BP executive who is skeptical of how dangerous the situation actually is (or will become.) Dylan O’Brien and Kurt Russell have also taken roles in the film as workers, while Gina Rodriguez has the female lead as Andrea Fleytas. Kate Hudson will portray Wahlberg’s wife, marking the first time she has appeared onscreen with Russell, who raised her alongside her mom, Goldie Hawn.
Deepwater Horizon was directed by Peter Berg, who is familiar with shooting oceanic-based thrillers from having helmed the infamous 2012 bomb Battleship – though he scored a hit with audiences a year later with the military drama Lone Survivor, which also starred Wahlberg. An action and drama specialist with a particular interest in military and politically-charged subject matter, Berg is also known for the Saudi-set terrorism thriller The Kingdom and the original Friday Night Lights feature film.
There has not yet been a comment on the Deepwater Horizon trailer from British Petroleum (BP), which settled with the US government, the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, as well as 400 local authorities for $18.7 billion in 2015 after having been found guilty of gross negligence and willful misconduct under the Clean Water Act in 2014. While the company has paid out some $57 billion in clean-up, environmental/economic damages and penalties thus far, many analysts believe that the ecological damage caused by the spill could continue to be felt for decades to come.
Deepwater Horizon opens in U.S. theaters on September 30th, 2016.