Deepwater: what does survivor Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) think of the film?
“Deepwater”, the film directed by Peter Berg, is inspired by a true story that led to the death of 11 people. Faced with this horror, many of the survivors of the BP platform opposed the production of this film. But not Mike Williams, the hero of the story played by Mark Wahlberg.
Deepwater: back to the true story behind the film
In 2016, Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg joined forces for a second time (after Blood and tears) on the occasion of the disaster film Deepwater. Also worn by Kate Hudson, Dylan O’Brien, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, or Gina Rodriguez, the film is based on a terrible true story.
April 20, 2010the Deepwater Horizon platform explodes and leads to the death of 11 people. An accident that remains one of the biggest environmental disasters of history. And which notably resulted in oil slicks of more than 2,000 km.
More specifically, the movie Deepwater is adapted from a New York Times article titled Last hours of the Deepwater Horizon written by journalists David Barstow, David S. Rohde, and Stephanie Saul. Posted on December 25, 2010this paper was written based on the testimonies of the 21 survivors of the platform. Shortly after, Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate acquired the rights to bring this story to the big screen. A decision that was clearly not unanimous.
Mike Williams’ involvement
With Deepwater, Peter Berg decides to take Mike Williams (played by Mark Wahlberg in the film)the platform’s chief electrician, as the hero of his story. And this choice is not trivial, since this survivor of the Deepwater Horizon is one of the only employees who gave his blessing to Peter Berg to make this film.
Indeed, many Deepwater Horizon workers were against the production of this feature film. In particular, they believed that the work could have brought dishonor to the men who died during the event.
However, Mike Williams very quickly supported the film project by becoming a consultant. He felt that this film was a good way to show the public the circumstances of the accident and to stage as realistically as possible the horror they experienced.
When the film was released, Mike Williams said:
People outside the platform have a hard time understanding this medium. It’s a very tight-knit community, and so I think it’s a great opportunity to reveal to the general public what these men and women are doing there.
But the feature film obviously did not please the BP company, which was responsible for this platform. The firm’s insistence on drilling despite warnings from specialists and on-site employees is presented as the main vector of the accident. Following the release of Deepwater, the company issued a press release to clear itself of this responsibility, and to remind that Peter Berg’s film is only fiction:
Deepwater is Hollywood’s take on a tragic and complex accident. This is not a correct representation of the events leading up to the accident, of the people, or of our company. The film ignores the conclusions of all the official investigations: that the accident was the result of several mistakes made by a number of companies.
A very real trauma
Anyway, even if BP does not want to be held solely responsible for this accident, the sinking of the platform nevertheless resulted in the death of 11 employees: Jason C. Anderson, 35; Aaron Dale Burkeen, 37; Donald Clark, 49; Stephen Ray Curtis, 39; Gordon L. Jones, 28; Roy Wyatt Kemp, 27; Karl D. Kleppinger, Jr., 38; Keith Blair Manuel, 56; Dewey A. Revette, 48; Shane M. Roshto, 22, and Adam Weise, 24.
As for Mike Williams, he told the Los Angeles Times in 2016, that he was permanently traumatized by this accident:
I had this deathly fear of helicopters until two years after the accident. I could hear a helicopter while sleeping and wake up screaming. It was sort of a trigger mechanism that brought me back there every time.
Although it received fairly positive reviews, Deepwater disappointed at the box office with only 122 million dollars in revenue for a budget of 110 million.