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Deepwater Horizon Film

Updated on September 30, 2016
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With an Olelo community video series "in development," Ms. Freeman finds a few moments to share her film thoughts.

Movie Poster


Movie based on a Newspaper article

Yes, this movie’s Screen story and Screenplay was based on an article appearing in the New York Times, written by 3 reporters, whose names were listed in the Ending Credits.

Q: what’s the difference between a Screen story and a Screenplay?
A: I could not find any quotables about the differences between the 2 terms. I believe Screen story is an adaptation of the actual events, live people, environment where it occurred, whereas a Screenplay is the movie script that the actors read, director-cinematographer-crew work from it to produce the film. Screenplay infuses characterization and drama from the Screen story.

Q: did the Film deliver?
A: Yes, it was based on a 3-Act structure, versus a 5-Act structure, or some other type of structure (i.e. War Dogs used 6 different Opticals to introduce each chapter of their story). The 3-Act structure is the Beginning, Middle and End, where the Beginning involves the Transocean Company not performing a Cement filling with one of their sub-contractors, Schlumberger, which is the Inciting Incident (or what starts the whole ball rolling and introduces the characters). The company is trying to get ahead of its drilling schedule, and cost overruns being a major reason for not cement filling, among other “bandaged” approaches to running an oil rig. The main character’s POV is Mike Williams (casted & played well by Mark Wahlberg) and the 2nd main character is Jimmy Harrell (played most powerfully by Kurt Russell), along with various Rig Crew members.

  • The stakes are raised when the explosion hits, and everyone is blown out-apart. How will everyone be rescued? Or will they be rescued? Will they die? Nicely done scene with Kurt Russell (post-shower)!
  • The Middle of the story occurs after the mud explodes, causing the Rig to catch fire in the open ocean (April 20, 2010), spilling its contents off-shore in Southeast Louisiana waters, making it one of the worst oil disasters in history, because it lasted 87 days. One of the main filming locations was Chalmette, LA.
  • The Middle of the story is sometimes hard-to-define. A good indicator is looking for where the story turns. Yes, that’s rather cryptic, but those are the words I can use to describe it, as I see a quite a few films on a regular basis. The middle of this story is whether to turn off the rig, without “Mr. Jimmy” present, as he’s still MIA at this point in the film.
  • The End of the story occurs when the last two characters miss 2 previous chances to get off of a burning Rig! They didn’t make it onto either the 1st nor 2nd rescue boat, so now “What do they choose to do?” with their 3rd chance. Because after 3 strikes, well, you know how the saying goes! Thank you for such Great stuntwork in the Final Sequence.

If you have never worked in this industry, don’t worry, the film is laid out very well on-screen, so that the Movie Viewer can understand what’s going on. Thank you to the Producers for a fine story delivery.

A Trailer that illustrates the story, but doesn't give it all away

Movie Trivia

  • The Oil Rig was the largest set piece ever built on-location, just outside of Chalmette, LA. Which in the film, is shown from a distance, as the Crew is being helicoptered in.
  • Kate Hudson says that this is the first movie she’ll be appearing in with her step-father Kurt Russell.
  • When first contacted about the role, Mark Wahlberg said that he wanted to play the younger male lead, and after asking other veteran actors to play the older male lead, the Producers wanted Mr. Wahlberg to play the older male lead, with someone younger (Dylan O’Brien) as the other male lead.
  • Interestingly enough, Mr. Wahlberg was one of the producers on this film, as well as receiving top billing over Mr. Russell. This is his 2nd collaboration with Peter Berg, who not only directed the film, but appears in it as "Mr. Skip." Some of their "in development right now" projects include: The Six Billion Dollar Man and American Gangster.
  • Actor Graham McGinnis (who plays the Coast Guard Lt.) is an active duty CG Helicopter Rescue Swimmer, stationed at USCG Airstation New Orleans. How’s that for authenticity?
  • There were quite a number of female actresses contacted to play the Lead part (Kristen Stewart, Emma Stone), but did not work out due to scheduling conflicts and an unfinished script.
  • This film received a standing ovation at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Main Cast

Mike Williams
Mark Wahlberg
Felicia Williams
Kate Hudson
Jimmy Harrell
Kurt Russell
Douglas M. Griffin
James DuMont
Joe Chrest
Andrea Fleytas
Gina Rodriguez
Brad Leland
John Malkovich
David Maldonado
Dewey A. Revette
J.D. Evermore
Jason Anderson
Ethan Suplee
Stephen Ray Curtis
Jason Pine
Aaron Dale Burkeen
Jason Kirkpatrick
Doug Brown
Robert Walker Branchaud
Caleb Holloway
Dylan O'Brien
Gordon Jones
Jonathan Angel
Halliburton Rep
Bill McMullen
Adam Weise
Jeremy Sande
Sydney Wiliams
Stella Allen
Mr. Skip
Peter Berg
Anthony Gervasio
Juston Street
Dan Barron & Roughneck #1
Anthony Centonze
CG Commander
Zachary Guerra
CG Officer #1
Chris Ashworth
CG Officer #2
Graham McGinnis
CG Officer #3
Robert Nash
Andrea's Housemate
Henri Esteve
ROV Operator
Sean Carter
Frenchman & Schlumberger #1
Elizabeth Carey
Bankston Crewman & Medic
Mustafa Harris
Old Man Carl
Joel Allen
Shane M. Roshto
Henry Frost
Keith Blair Manuel
Terry Milam
Karl Kleppinger Jr.
Garrett Kruithof
Roy Wyatt Kemp
Michael Howell
Donald Clark
Ronald Weaver
Paula Walker
Deneen Tyler

Other Cast Members

Scared Crew Member
Jim Klock
ROV Operator #2
Leighton Gonzales
ROV Supervisor
Michael O'Brien
Wyman Wheeler
Garrett Himes
BP Rep
Rob Steinberg
Massive Man
Trace Adkins
Rescue Swimmer
Kurt Peterson
Counter Agent #1
Cierra Price
Crew Member
Kenneth Billings
Andrea's Boyfriend
Ilan Muallem
CG Officer #4
Wesley Figaro
CG Officer #5
Jennifer Tamminen
CG Officer #6
Carliene O'Connor
First Mate
Craig Shellenberger
DP Officer
Trent Zimmer
Subsea Engineer
Ronnie Cupstid
Still Photographer
David William Donze
Incoming Subsea Engineer
Micah le Blanc
Chief Mechanic
Patrick Arabie
Aircraft Commander
Brandt Allen
Co-pilot #1
Kelly Smith
CG Rescue Swimmer
Stephen Nicoll
Roughneck #2
Preston Brice
Rig Worker #1
Randolph Perkins
Frenchman & Schlumberger #2
Cedric Gervais
Frenchman & Schlumberger #3
David Grutman
Life Boat Driver
Peter Trentacosta II
Counter Agent #2
Jenny Kubiak
Transocean Employee
Steve Fisher
Bristow Advisory
Tawnya Carr
Reporter #1
Meghan Gatto
Reporter #2
Tom Yura
Worried Mother
Sandra Santiago
BP Escort
Scott Francis Campbell
BP Personnel
Barry Fallon
Mark Schotz
Paula's Husband
Anthony Thomas
Bankston Survivor #1
Barker Carlock
Bankston Survivor #2
Tracy Mann
Richard Williams
Co-pilot #2
Derek Thorsrud
Deepwater Rescue Swimmer
Nick Litchfield
Deck Hand
Robert Lovett
Helicopter Pilot
Frederic North
Voice of Natalie
Mayla Parker
Rig Survivor
Darrell L. Shuler

Film Takeaways

I usually don’t watch “Water” movies, as I don’t like swimming in the open ocean! But, with Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson, I thought this might be a film worth watching.

I’m glad I did, because this film used one of my favorite Digital Cameras, ARRI Alexa 65. This camera gives a distinctive look to some of the current releases. The lense choice is up to the Director and DP. The ARRIRAW source format and the digital processing of the film into D-cinema is pretty standard.

I liked ILM doing the special effects, pre-visualization and post-visualization. As always, a very *nice* job.

I also liked the Makeup, Costumes and incredible Set design. Which leads me onto a side note about Makeup and Prosthetics…

Post Film Comments

Above-the-Line Credits

Directed by Peter Berg.

Screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan and Matthew Sand.

Screen story by Matthew Sand.

Music by Steve Jablonsky.

Cinematography by Enrique Chediak.

Film editing by Gabriel Fleming and Colby Parker Jr.

Casting by Deborah Aquila and Tricia Wood.

Post film comments from one of my friends, whose close friend was wanting to go to Film School to learn how to do Prosthetic Makeup/Makeup Effects back-in-the-day (was not accepted because there were only a few slots open every year). Recently, the close friend reapplied to the East Coast college, and was told that this program was not being offered any longer, because the trend in Movie Making is different now.

  • The actors have had lots of makeup applied to their faces throughout the years, so it’s been an aging factor in the actor’s skin tone, texture, etc. As RB says, this would affect your headshot.
  • The trend in Hollywood is to use a more “natural look,” where the actor needs to look good on camera, and the makeup is applied less heavily. Or, if the actor needs to appear older, different looks can be achieved through the magic of makeup.

So there ya have it!


Theatrical Distribution

Special Event Release
Toronto International Film Festival
Zurich Film Festival
Horizonte profundo
Hong Kong
Pakao na horizontu
Melytengeri pokol
Horizonte Profundo - Desastre no Golfo
Liepsnojantis horizontas
Zywiol. Deepwater Horizon
South Africa
Horizonte Profundo: Desastre no Golfo
Horizonte Profundo: Desastre en el Golfo
Marea negra
As always, see the film for yourself and decide if you like it. Aloha, Pam
As always, see the film for yourself and decide if you like it. Aloha, Pam | Source

Will this film be nominated for an Oscar Award?

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