Honour­ing the vic­tims

> Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon is a film out to tell the real events and the peo­ple caught up in the worst off­shore oil disas­ter in the US


ATOP pri­or­ity for a new movie about the deadly 2010 Gulf of Mex­ico oil spill, said its di­rec­tor and main ac­tor, was en­sur­ing it ac­cu­rately de­picted the disas­ter that killed 11 work­ers.

Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon, which had its world premiere at the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, fo­cuses on the hours be­fore and af­ter the rig ex­plo­sion on April 20, 2010, that led to the worst off­shore oil disas­ter in the US his­tory.

Di­rected by Peter Berg, the film stars Mark Wahlberg as Mike Wil­liams, the real-life worker who was one of the last peo­ple to es­cape from the burn­ing rig.

“We wanted to pre­serve the au­then­tic­ity of that ex­pe­ri­ence. Eleven peo­ple died. It re­ally hap­pened. It’s not just a piece of en­ter­tain­ment,” Berg said in a red car­pet in­ter­view ahead of the premiere. “We tried to be as nat­u­ral and not slick when­ever we could.”

The film re­ceived a stand­ing ova­tion at the fes­ti­val, with cheers when the spot­light shone on the real Wil­liams, who at­tended the event with his wife and daugh­ter.

Wahlberg said in an in­ter­view that be­cause they were por­tray­ing real peo­ple, they felt ad­di­tional pres­sure to get it right.

“We just made sure that we main­tained cre­ative control and we stayed true to the ac­tual events, and hon­oured the 11 peo­ple [who] lost their lives.”

Berg said the movie partly orig­i­nated from a seg­ment on the tele­vi­sion pro­gramme, 60 Min­utes, about the hours lead­ing up to the disas­ter.

“It was about sci­ence, it was about hu­man courage, it was about cor­po­rate greed. To me, it just had all the el­e­ments of a re­ally good story, and it stuck with me,” he said.

The film ex­am­ines de­ci­sions made by BP ex­ec­u­tives lead­ing up to the disas­ter, high­light­ing the pres­sure work­ers were put un­der to save money as drilling fell be­hind.

The Bri­tish oil ma­jor in July es­ti­mated costs will total about US$62 bil­lion (RM254.2 bil­lion), as it sets aside bil­lions for crim­i­nal and civil penal­ties and cleanup costs.

Kurt Rus­sell, who por­trays rig boss Jimmy Har­rell, said when he first got in­volved with the project he re­mem­bered the spill, but did not re­alise the de­gree of suf­fer­ing or courage dis­played.

“There were many acts of in­cred­i­ble hero­ism that night, mir­a­cles,” he said. “I felt bad about the peo­ple that died. I felt they needed to be hon­oured.” – Reuters

(left) Wahlberg (cen­tre) de­pict­ing oil rig worker Wil­liams, one of the he­roes of the disas­ter, in Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon.

(be­low) A scene from the movie that cap­tures a cru­cial mo­ment in his­tory.

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