Movies based on recent history often face questions about accuracy. Last month, both Clint Eastwood's Sully and Oliver Stone's Snowden spurred conversations about separating fact and fiction. Berg and Wahlberg should provoke similar eyebrow-raising over their next team-up, Patriots Day, a ripped-from-headlines movie about the Boston marathon bombing, coming later this year. Deepwater Horizon has already faced fact-checking criticism, both for the way it treats the culpability of BP -- engineer Donald Vidrine, portrayed by a scenery-chewing, Cajun-accent-wielding John Malkovich in the film, is framed as the movie's villain -- and for the way it portrays the actions of Wahlberg's main character.
By most accounts, the inaccuracies are fairly typical for big-budget docudramas. The movie's version of Mike Williams has an expanded role on the rig, putting him in scenes he didn't necessarily witness so he can serve as an audience surrogate in an admittedly chaotic situation. The filmmakers have been upfront about this in press surrounding the film.
"I believe that the movie-star version of this movie is going to be a more profitable movie," producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura told the New York Times in an article about the making of the film. "And ultimately, I also came to believe that it was going to be a more satisfactory movie, because you could pin your emotions to a smaller group of people and therefore really decide what the story is about."
But what about the actual jump? The version we see in the movie is quite similar to the story you hear in Mike Williams' 60 Minutes interview, the segment that drew Berg to this material in the first place. In the interview with journalist Scott Pelley, Williams describes his conversation with 23-year-old worker Andrea Fleytas. "I remember telling her, 'If you don't jump, I'm going to throw you,'" he says in the interview. It sounds similar to what we see Wahlberg say on screen. His description of his own jump is chilling.