Out of the maze, Dylan O’ Brien stars anew in another pulse-stopping thriller, Deepwater Horizon, a true story of survival against all odds in a tragedy now considered as the largest marine oil spill in history. Directed by Peter Berg, Deepwater Horizon also stars Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Gina Rodriguez, John Malkovich, and Kurt Russell.
Deepwater Horizon brings us to a world that bolsters everything mechanical on earth, due to the insatiable demand for fuel, oil companies dig into ocean depths where humans have never before dared to labor. It’s a brave new world of exploration for the oil industry, but on April 20, 2010, the dangers of that world became devastatingly clear.
On that day, the Deepwater Horizon, a technological marvel, an ultra-deep-water, advanced oil rig owned by the Swiss company Transocean and leased by British Petroleum was drilling deep in a well named Macondo about 40 miles off the Louisiana coast. Suddenly, the crew faced the greatest fear of all ocean rig workers: a ferocious blowout, caused by pockets of unstable methane shooting up the pipes with deadly force. The rig is equipped with a blowout preventer that included an Emergency Disconnect System (EDS), both failed to contain the blowout. The initial blowout killed 11 men who were never found, critically injured others and sparked a bold evacuation of men and women trapped amid roiling mud and fire. After two days of searing flames, the remains of the Deepwater Horizon sank 5000 feet to the ocean floor, leaving the well gushing beyond control, ultimately releasing, according to government estimates, 4.9 million barrels of oil.
From the start of production, all who are involved felt it was vitally important to shoot amidst the people and communities these events affected so powerfully. In addition, the production closely consulted with survivors, families of those who were lost, oil industry experts, as well as Coast Guard advisors.
Says producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, “We had submersible guys working on the submersible scenes and real drillers working in the drill shack scenes. It gives the movie a deeper level of gravity because they each speak in a particular way and know when something doesn’t feel right.”
Before production started, a massive design challenge loomed: recreating the sprawling Deepwater Horizon in the visceral detail needed to take audiences into the tricky environment where the film’s characters fought to survive. It took Seagers and his team, including 85 welders, eight months to build the Deepwater Horizon set – which was created in three separate parts, to 85 percent scale of the actual rig. The main set weighed in at 2,947,094 lbs. and utilized 3.2 million lbs. of steel. It even included a functioning helipad where an actual helicopter was landed on the set.
The challenges of creating and working on these intricate sets brought cast and crew closer – but also were a constant reminder of just how much greater the difficulties were to those who found themselves trying to survive the most destructive oil rig disaster in history.
“One of the biggest sets I’ve ever experienced or seen, that’s just the part of the cool thing we do everyday here on sets and making movies. It’s the stuff we dream about as kids. It’s kinda surreal, we built an entire rig just like on a water tank,” shares O’Brien.
Deepwater Horizon opens Oct. 5 in cinemas from Pioneer Films.