At 41, J.C. Chandor already has a trio of good-to-great features under his belt. With Margin Call, the Essential Viewing-certified All Is Lost, and last year’s A Most Violent Year, Chandor has carefully measured and re-measured out the worth of human life in the face of adversity, terror, and certain destruction. He’s poised to transition from a merely promising director into an arguably great one, and Deepwater Horizon was going to be the film that completed that shift. Last July, Chandor had signed on to direct a film about the 2010 disaster on the titular oil rig. A month after, he even wrangled Mark Wahlberg to play his leading man. But now, a new development has disrupted this promising production.
J.C. Chandor has left the Deepwater Horizon project over what Deadline calls “creative differences,” a phrase that offers little in the way of actual answers. The film’s producers were apparently determined to maintain their schedule of principal photography beginning in April for a September 30, 2016 premiere, as they immediately hired Lone Survivor director Peter Berg to take the reins.
The project is a natural fit for Berg, who’s not only worked with Wahlberg before (he played an indefatigable Navy SEAL for Berg in Lone Survivor), but has also demonstrated a workable talent for dramatizing true events. BP’s gross irresponsibility commanded headlines for months following the rig’s explosion and contamination of the Gulf of Mexico, and while Chandor was an appealing prospect in the director’s chair, Berg should be able to do right by the subject as well.