Continuing his admirable trend of fluctuating between studio blockbusters and more narratively ambitious projects, Mark Wahlberg has entered into talks to star in Deepwater Horizon, which will tell the dramatic true tale of the 2010 BP oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, which caused the worst oil spill since the Exxon Valdez.
Wahlberg will star as the No. 2 manager on the doomed oil rig, who worked to rescue men in the water on that disastrous day. The project, adapted from The New York Times’ article “Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hour,” specifically highlights the courage of those on the rig when it blew, killing 11 and injuring 16 others, as they attempted to salvage the rig and save their colleagues.
The actor is hotter than ever thanks to his acclaimed performance in the Peter Berg-directed war action-drama Lone Survivor and his lead role in Transformers: Age of Extinction, which broke a billion at the box office this summer. His ability to ground any project with a charismatic, committed performance should make him a perfect lead for a project as immediately compelling as Deepwater Horizon.
J.C. Chandor, the acclaimed writer-director of Margin Call and All Is Lost, will direct Deepwater Horizon next, after his period piece A Most Violent Year, which stars Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain as immigrants trying to keep afloat in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically one of the city’s worst years for violent crime.
Production is set to start in late spring/early summer next year, with Chandor directing from a script by Matthew Michael Carnahan (World War Z). Given Chandor’s track record (Margin Call earned him a Best Original Screenplay nod at the Oscars, while All is Lost was one of the best-received films of last year), it’s not hard to gather that Summit Entertainment and Participant Media are hoping to position Deepwater Horizon as an awards contender.