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BP workers 'were scared to help the makers of oil spill disaster movie'

Published 13/09/2016

Director Peter Berg said his new film presented BP as a company clearly motivated by profit
Director Peter Berg said his new film presented BP as a company clearly motivated by profit

Workers for oil giant BP were "scared" to co-operate with the makers of the new Deepwater Horizon disaster movie, the film's director has claimed.

Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson star in the film about the 2010 oil-rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico which cost 11 lives and led to the biggest oil spill in US history.

Director Peter Berg said he was committed to filming in south Louisiana, the area of the disaster, but faced a "fairly substantial amount of resistance".

He told the Press Association: "BP is such a huge company and the oil industry in general, but BP in particular, has a lot of power in that part of the country.

"We were met by a fairly substantial amount of resistance from people who are all employed by BP who were scared to give us too much co-operation.

"We weren't allowed to film on any rigs. We were denied many of the ships and the helicopters and the personnel we wanted. It was pretty obvious from the beginning that this was a film that BP probably wasn't thrilled was getting made."

The total cost of the disaster to BP stands at around 61.6 billion US dollars (£46.9 billion).

Berg said he did not expect the film to have "any big influence on BP's bottom line".

"If BP really looked at what we're doing, I think we're actually good for BP," he said.

"At the end of the day we present BP as a company clearly motivated by profit, which I don't think is unreasonable.

"The reality is that rig was way behind schedule and way over budget. Nobody believes they wanted that rig to blow up, or BP wanted these men to die. They certainly didn't. But they were responsible for having a system of business that was not safe when the pressure started to increase.

"They paid deeply for that. It was tragedy. The oil spill is a tragedy, the loss of human life is a tragedy. I don't think BP was a moustache-curling evil villain."

Wahlberg, who plays Mike Williams, a foreman on the oil rig, said he did not want to "point the finger" of blame for the disaster.

"It's a very difficult and dangerous job for everyone across the board," he told the Press Association.

"I wasn't in the situation with the amount of pressure so I don't really want to point the finger.

He added: "If people continue to figure out smarter and safer ways to tap into these resources, then we'd be better off.

"If they figure the amount they spent on the clean-up and settling lawsuits, I think they could have saved a lot of money by focusing a little more on safety."

Deepwater Horizon is released in UK cinemas on September 29.

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