With high-stakes financial drama Margin Call and Robert Redford-powered survival tale All Is Lost under his belt, J.C. Chandor is settling into his position as one of Hollywood’s most exciting new filmmakers. Up next, he has a period crime thriller titled A Most Violent Year, which stars Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain as an immigrant and his wife struggling to expand their New York business in the crime-ridden winter of 1981 while the rampant corruption of their surroundings threatens to drag them down. That project has Oscar written all over it, but Chandor isn’t waiting around to see how it performs – Deadline reports that he’s already lining up Deepwater Horizon as his next effort.
The film will focus on the April 20, 2010 explosion of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, which caused a massive offshore oil spill that created the second largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. However, Chandor has no interest in finger-wagging – Deepwater Horizon is not a morality tale but a survival story about what happened to the more-than-100 crew members on the Deepwater Horizon rig. Although they risked their lives to prevent the disaster, the rig eventually blew, killing 11 workers and injuring 16 others.
Described as a “big scale drama,” Deepwater Horizon is produced by Transformers‘ Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian. It’s being prepped to shoot this winter, with Chandor set to work from a draft by World War Z scribe Matthew Michael Carnahan (the original was penned by Ninja Assassin screenwriter Michael Sand, who adapted the 2010 New York Times article “Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hour” by David Barstow, David Rohde and Stephanie Saul).
It’s tremendously exciting to see Chandor take on a big project like Deepwater Horizon. With All Is Lost, he worked from a small $9 million budget and was able to create a stunning amount of suspense and realism, so it will be very interesting to see how he adapts to a bigger-budget affair. The filmmaker has yet to disappoint, and given the subject matter here, it seems unlikely that Deepwater Horizon will be his first failure.