Under the Radar

'Deepwater Horizon': Real Heroes of the Gulf Oil Spill


Director Peter Berg and actor Mark Wahlberg had a huge success telling Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell's story in their Lone Survivor movie back in 2013 (Luttrell, Berg and Walhberg talked to us about the movie back then). They've reunited for Deepwater Horizon, a powerful new film about the crew of the BP oil rig that exploded in April 2010 and resulted in a spill eventually dumped almost 5 million barrels into the Gulf of Mexico.

The movie was inspired by a 60 Minutes report on Chief Electronics Technician Mike Williams, who told the story of the men and women who fought to prevent the spill, the dangers they faced and the 11 workers who were lost during the explosion. Berg has made a tightly plotted thriller that excites in the theater and then sticks with viewers as they begin to think about issues after they leave the theater. The movie blames BP for cutting corners on safety protocols in an attempt to make up for lost profits on a project that was weeks behind schedule.

The workers in the film follow orders (under protest), warn their supervisors of mistakes before they happen and strive to make the best of the chaos when things go wrong. At least some of our readers should be recognize those kinds of command issues.

Berg had a budget roughly five times what he was given on Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon benefits from the technical experience he gained on Battleship. A huge amount of the film was shot on a physical set that was built to 80% of the size of the real Deepwater Horizon. Most of what you see on screen is practical instead of computer effects and the old-school movie magic (lots of real flames instead of computer ones) makes a huge difference in the quality of the film.


The movie stars Wahlberg as Mike Williams and Kate Hudson plays his wife Felicia Williams. Kate's father Kurt Russell plays rig supervisor Jimmy Harrell and Gina Rodriguez plays Andrea Fleytas, a 23-year-old pilot on the Deepwater. All of their characters are based on real-life counterparts. John Malkovich shows up as a Cajun-accented BP supervisor who ignores all of Mike and Jimmy's warnings. Dylan O'Brien , Ethan Suplee, J.D. Evermore and Juston Street feature as part of the crew.

We spoke to Peter Berg and actors Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell and Gina Rodriguez in New Orleans after a preview screening.

Check out their videos below.


Peter Berg


Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell and Gina Rodriguez



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