(Corrects paragraph 2 attribution to Mike Williams instead of Mark Wahlberg, corrects paragraph 6 to other cast members did not attend London premiere instead of they attended)
(Reuters) – Actor Mark Wahlberg said “the biggest responsibility” for himself and the makers of the new movie, “Deepwater Horizon,” was to honor the real-life victims of the 2010 oil rig disaster.
“The oil can ultimately be cleaned up, (but) those 11 men can’t be replaced,” Mike Williams, oil rig engineer and survivor of the disaster, told Reuters at the film’s London premiere on Monday. Wahlberg plays Williams in the film.
“Those were fathers, brothers, husbands, uncles, cousins. We can’t replace those guys and so when they approached me about doing this film, I thought, ‘What better way to promote their story’,” he added.
“Deepwater Horizon,” due out in theaters on Friday, focuses on the hours before and after the BP Plc rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, leading to the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history. Eleven workers were killed and millions of barrels of oil spewed onto the shorelines of several states for nearly three months.
In the movie directed by Peter Berg, Wahlberg plays Mike Williams, one of the last people to escape from the burning rig.
The real-life Williams joined Wahlberg at the premiere. The film also stars Kurt Russell, Gina Rodriguez, John Malkovich and Kate Hudson, who did not attend the London premiere.
“The focus wasn’t really on who made what mistakes and who was responsible. Really, it was about the heroics of the 11 people and the inspiring things that they did to survive and help one another,” Wahlberg said.
“Deepwater Horizon” examines the decisions concerning safety made by BP executives leading up to the disaster, highlighting the pressure that workers were under to save money as drilling fell behind.
British oil major BP in July estimated costs from the disaster will total about $62 billion.
“I never faulted BP for being a company for profit. That’s what fuels our economy. We all use fuel. I get that they’re a company for profit,” Berg said.
“Where I think they erred was when they got behind schedule and behind budget, some of the guys from BP pushed too hard, they moved too quickly.”
In October 2015, U.S. officials announced an agreement of more than $20 billion to settle federal and state claims against BP over the spill
(Reporting by Reuters TV in London; Writing by Piya Sinha-Roy in Los Angeles; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)