Quite a few odd things happened during this interview, which occurred on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon at the Toronto International Film Festival. First of all, I started interviewing Peter Berg much earlier in the day, but we had to stop, then delay it until later in the afternoon (long story). Then, once we got going again five hours later, Berg starts quoting my review of Deepwater Horizon, which I thought was impossible because it wasn’t supposed to publish for another seven hours. (Yep, we messed up. My favorite part is when Berg asks me, “So, I’m an ‘angry’ director, huh?” He was smiling when he said this, so I take this as a sign that he didn’t want to punch me.)
Then, with no warning, Mark Wahlberg shows up in the room, who I was supposed to interview later, separately. Instead, he joins this interview. I’m mentioning all of this because if this reads at all a little “all over the place,” well, adjustments had to be made on the fly.
As mentioned, Wahlberg stars in Berg’s Deepwater Horizon, an account of the explosion off the coast of Louisiana that resulted in one of the largest man-made environmental disasters in history. Wahlberg plays Mike Williams, an electrician on the doomed rig who is our entryway into what happened and what went wrong.
In 2015, I interviewed Wahlberg for Ted 2 and somehow we got on the topic of a game he plays with his family called “pick it or kick it.” I asked if The Force Awakens is a “pick it” or “kick it,” I was told “kick it.” Wahlberg swore he wouldn’t be seeing the new Star Wars movie. I had to know if this turned out to be true. Also, I asked Wahlberg about that fact King Arthur is somehow in the next Transformers movie, a fact he seems to find as surprising as the rest of us.
My reaction to Deepwater Horizon is that it made me mad at BP all over again.
Peter Berg: Yeah. Well, I mean it’s an understandable reaction. The big issue for me, I actually can divorce myself from rage – BP is a huge company – but I participate in a capitalist society.
We all do.
Berg: And I use fuel. We’re all complacent, a bit. We all participate in the oil business in that regard. But where things really went off the tracks was with these two BP executives, who were scared. They were embarrassed that they were 40-odd-million dollars over the budget, they were getting some pressure. Those were the two guys who really fucked up. And you can look at a culture of pressure and greed…