Last year, at Christmas, The New York Times dropped an exceptional bombshell in its coverage of the BP oil disaster. "Deepwater Horizon's Final Hours" is a heart- and gut-wrenching account of the rig's explosion that killed 11 of its crewmembers and sent waves of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Yesterday, film producers grabbed up the rights for a big-screen spin on the story. Summit Entertainment, Participant Media and Imagenation Abu Dhabi bought the rights and attached screenwriter Matthew Sand to the project.
Participant's portfolio is stuffed with some excellent films, including documentaries An Inconvenient Truth, Food, Inc. and Waiting for Superman, and political thriller Syriana and Good Night, and Good Luck.
Summit, however, is the independent mammoth behind the Twilight series, American Pie, Sex Drive and Sorority Row. (Though to be fair, it also released Oscar winner The Hurt Locker, which I assume took the studio some convincing to prevent American Pie Goes to War.)
So, what kind of film are we talking about here?
Sand's resume include only one film: 2009's Ninja Assassin, the gory, critically panned martial arts movie starring K-pop star Rain.
The film's possible producer, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, helmed the CGI-worshiping box-office destroyer Transformers and its sequels, as well as bombs G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Doom.
Producers say it'll "portray the great heroism that took place last year on the Deepwater Horizon rig and how colleagues so courageously came to each other’s aide," and, the story will honor "the courage of those who worked on the oil rig and the final minutes leading up to the disaster that ultimately led to great devastation that will forever be remembered."
Based on previous output, the producers are looking to score with a big budget hero-faces-disaster tale, along the lines of World Trade Center or Armageddon. Or a disaster epic, a Towering Inferno-type on the high seas.
At best, a true-to-life expose on the high crimes and deep tragedy that hopefully will stir interest in the long-term effects of the disaster and America's obsession with oil — a sort of follow up to 2005's petro-political Syriana. The involvement of Imagenation Abu Dhabi, a United Arab Emirates-based media company and a collaborative studio partner with Participant, means it's likely to fall in the latter camp.
Will you watch it?