Wahlberg deep in disaster movie
Wahlberg gets into character for a true survival story
Mark Wahlberg understands the responsibility and sensitivity of dramatising real-life disasters for the big screen. For Deepwater Horizon, the film about one of the biggest disasters ever – on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico – Wahlberg worked closely with Mike Williams, the operation’s chief electronics technician at the time of the explosion. The April 20, 2010 accident killed 11 of the 126 crew on board, and caused a months-long marine oil spill.
Oscar-nominated Wahlberg says: “He was the last one on the rig, and he knew so much about what really happened there. I didn’t want to just meet him; I wanted him around and consulting with us the entire time. It turned out he was a great help to everybody.”
They also had personal conversations to better understand the character he is going to portray: “We talked about everything. We talked what he did before he was on the rig, about how he spent his time off the rig, about his relationship with his daughter and wife. At times, he got quite emotional talking about what happened on the rig, but there wasn’t anything he wasn’t comfortable talking about with me.”
Recounting the experience proved cathartic to Wahlberg.
“Answering questions about what happened from the time I woke up until the time I got to the hospital, and to be able to walk the cast through that has been beneficial to me. It helped me not only to re-live the story, but it also allowed me to let go of some of it, and that was very therapeutic.”
Kurt Russell (left), who plays the offshore installation manager Jimmy Harrell, also felt the weight of
portraying a real person. He didn’t meet Harrell, but spent hours watching his testimony during the investigation. “Any time you play a character drawn from a real person, you have the responsibility to find out as much as you can,” he says.
“You realise that in this very dangerous world, when things go wrong, human beings can only try to make the right decisions. These are not black-and-white kinds of decisions. It’s a difficult thing to face.”
IN ACTION: Mark Wahlberg stars in Deepwater Horizon – out in cinemas tomorrow