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Peter Berg: ‘BP obstructed making of Deepwater Horizon’

Deepwater Horizon director Peter Berg has alleged BP executives tried to obstruct him while making his film about the oil rig disaster
Berg’s new movie tells the story of the 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 workers and caused an estimated 4.9 million barrels worth of oil to spill into the Gulf of Mexico.
In order to ensure its authenticity, the filmmaker attempted to gain access to real-life drilling vessels, but claims executives at oil company BP, who were renting the Deepwater Horizon at the time of his explosion, obstructed him.
“BP became a very effective disruptor and prevented us getting any access to any oil rigs,” he writes in an article for Britain’s The Guardian newspaper. “We couldn’t even fly by one. At one point we were in a helicopter on a tour of a rig called the Nautilus and were told if we got any closer we would be perceived to be a threat and they were going to defend themselves.”
Berg, 52, also alleges that oil industry workers approached by filmmakers to act as consultants on the movie were scared off by BP bosses.
“The companies exert so much power because they are such financial engines in that part of the country (America’s Gulf Coast) – anyone who worked with BP basically said they couldn’t talk to us. We had consultants who would work with us for a day or two, but the third day they would call in sick and we would never hear from them again.”
The director claims company executives prevented them from filming on working oil rigs, resulting in filmmakers having to build their own.
“We had contracts to film on the tenders that go back and forth to the rigs – then the day before, they would say we couldn’t,” he writes. “It became obvious that BP was doing a great job of intimidating most of the people down in that community.”
In his article, the director also reveals that studio bosses have taken out insurance to protect themselves from litigation in case BP sue them over the movie.
Despite his alleged battle with BP and his film’s focus on the failures that led to the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Berg believes the company actually comes out of his movie in a relatively flattering light.
“BP had many problems drilling that well that certainly weren’t all BP’s fault – that was why it was called “the well from hell”,” he adds. “I think we made BP look reasonable in its reactions to events.”
When contacted by WENN, a representative for BP refused to comment on Berg’s allegations but repeated a previous statement outlining company executives’ objections to the film.
“The Deepwater Horizon movie is Hollywood’s take on a tragic and complex accident,” BP’s statement read. “It is not an accurate portrayal of the events that led to the accident, our people, or the character of our company.”
Deepwater Horizon, which stars Mark Wahlberg, Gina Rodriguez, Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell and John Malkovich, was released last Friday (30 Sep16).

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