Last year's BP oil spill was one of the worst in history, spewing 200m gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico in the three months before the wellhead was successfully capped. The devastating environmental impact has been well documented (80 square miles around the site are still uninhabitable to marine life), but it's the immediate human cost of the explosion that began it all, destroying the Deepwater Horizon rig, that's to be the subject of a film by Summit Entertainment.
The projected movie is based on an excoriating New York Times article by David Barstow, David Rohde and Stephanie Saul, which exposed a catalogue of over-complicated systems and human error that led to the destruction of the rig, when it should seemingly have been able to weather the blowout of the well beneath. Eleven men died in the tragedy, with seventeen more injured.
"This film will portray the great heroism that took place last year on the Deepwater Horizon rig," says Summit's president Eric Feig. "The piece in the New York Times evoked the raw emotion these brave men experienced and endured throughout the tragedy that took place in April last year, and we hope to evoke the same emotions for our audience."
Ricky Strauss, president of co-rights-holders Participant Media, calls it "a suspenseful and inspiring real-life account of everyday people whose values are tested in the face of an impending environmental disaster."
Summit are negotiating with Lorenzo Di Bonaventura to produce* under his Di Bonaventura Pictures banner (Transformers, Salt), and the screenplay is in the hands of Matthew Sand, who wrote Ninja Assassin...
Regardless of quality, films based on very recent tragedies (cf. United 93, World Trade Centre) always make our In Questionable Taste radar ping. But if Deepwater Horizon hits any production problems, maybe Kevin Costner can unexpectedly pop up to save the day.
*Insert "Lorenzo's Oil" joke here.