Margin Call writer-director J.C. Chandor is in talks to next helm Deepwater Horizon, the big-scale drama being mobilized by Lionsgate, Summit Entertainment and Participant Media for a winter shoot. The drama focuses on the April 20, 2010 explosion of the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that caused a massive offshore oil spill that created the second-largest U.S. environmental disaster. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian are producing. Matthew Michael Carnahan wrote the most recent draft.
The film took root at Summit and Participant two years ago, when they acquired feature rights to The New York Times article titled “Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hour,” published on December 25, 2010 and written by David Barstow, David Rohde, and Stephanie Saul. There was a heavy bidding battle for the property. Summit and Participant Media teamed on the deal and Matthew Sand wrote the first draft. The rig was owned and operated by Transocean and drilling for BP in the Macondo Prospect oil field about 40 miles southeast of the Louisiana coast. The movie isn’t a morality tale as much as it is the survival story and the courage shown by those who worked on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. More than 100 were on the rig when things turned bad. Despite their attempts to prevent disaster, the rig blew, and the explosion killed 11 workers and injured 16 others.
Chandor is coming off the one-man survival tale All Is Lost with Robert Redford. That film cost $9 million, but this will be a much bigger undertaking and it’s a step up for the director. Chandor is currently completing A Most Violent Year with Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain for A24 and FilmNation and Participant Media.
While Di Bonaventura and Vahradian have spent the last few years blowing stuff up with Transformers and other tentpole pics, this is their second fact-based hero project. They just set Scott Cooper to direct a fact-based feature about the Granite Mountain Hotshots firefighter crew that perished in a wildfire that blazed near Prescott, AZ in June 2013. Only one of 19 members of the elite firefighting crew survived while fighting the Yarnell Hill wildfire, the largest loss of firefighters since 9/11 and the greatest loss of wild-land firefighters in 80 years. Black Hawk Down‘s Ken Nolan is writing that one.
Chandor is repped by WME.