EXCLUSIVE: Mark Wahlberg is in talks to star in the J.C. Chandor-directed Deepwater Horizon for Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment and Participant Media. Based on the true-life story of the 2010 BP oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico which caused the worst oil spill since the Exxon Valdez, the movie is being produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian. The story, adapted from The New York Times article "Deepwater Horizon's Final Hour," highlights the courage of those who worked on the oil rig when it blew, killing 11 and injuring 16 others.
Wahlberg will star as the No. 2 manager on the doomed oil rig in the story about what happened behind-the-scenes in the 48 hours leading up to and the day of the disaster. It revisits the acts of heroism that followed in trying to rescue men in the water, stories not known to the general public. The project is targeting a late spring/early summer start.
Related: J.C. Chandor To Helm ‘Deepwater Horizon’
The current version of the script for Deepwater Horizon was written by Matthew Michael Carnahan (World War Z); the original was done by Matthew Sand.
Wahlberg is onscreen in Transformers: Age Of Extinction and before that appeared in Lone Survivor, the critically acclaimed and commercially successful drama also based on a true story -- that of war hero Marcus Luttrell and his team of Navy SEALS, who fought the Taliban behind enemy lines in a covert operation to secure a high-value Taliban target.
Wahlberg, repped by WME and Leverage Management, is the rare actor who can easily segue between comedic and dramatic roles (from The Fighter to Ted) and find commercial success in both. He is also getting ready to star with Will Ferrell in the comedy Daddy's Home at Paramount. Wahlberg and producing partner Stephen Levinson are the creative forces behind the successful HBO series Entourage (soon to be a movie) and Boardwalk Empire.
Di Bonaventura and Wahlberg previously teamed on the $1B summer juggernaut Transformers: Age Of Extinction.
The cool thing about Wahlberg is that he gets the power of social media. After Ted, whose foul-mouthed teddy bear character became a must-follow on Twitter, Wahlberg's social media imprint really took off. He's actually one of the few crossover social media forces able to drive audiences to programming on both the big and small screens.
Chandor is just coming off of A Most Violent Year, a thriller set in New York starring Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac as a couple trying to make it in the city during the winter of 1981 -- statistically the highest crime rate in the city's history. Chandor directed Robert Redford in All Is Lost, the well-received pic that was overlooked for an Oscar this past year.