The Movie BP (Probably) Doesn’t Want You To See

By Andrew Kornblatt

Opening this week, a film called “The Runner,” starring Nicolas Cage and Mad Men’s Bryan Batt, is causing both marine biologists and politicians to take note. This film depicts a tragic hero Congressman, played by Mr. Cage, crusading for the rights of fishermen in his district in early days following BP’s Deepwater Horizon tragedy.

Nicolas Cage’s character comes across as a mixture of the earnest Mr. Smith when he went to Washington, the southern sexual magnetism of Bill Clinton, and the tragic scandal-entangled fall of Anthony Weiner. What marks this film as especially interesting from an ocean advocacy perspective is that it marks the first time BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill will highlighted as the setting in a movie that isn’t a documentary.

“The Runner”’s setting develops naturally, according to Austin Stark, who makes his writing and directing debut with the film. “Originally, I decided to set the film in Louisiana due to its rich culture and scandal-plagued political history. But when I went down there do research for the project a year after the Macondo well had been capped, I didn’t expect to see the continued suffering and impact that I witnessed,” said Stark, “It seemed that the mainstream media only showed an image of a region that was recovering. I got to meet fishermen and other business owners in the area, and it became very clear to me that those communities hadn’t recovered and that it was still very much a real issue. It occurred to me that making the spill prominent in our story would feel very organic, while also drawing attention to a tragedy that was being swept under the rug.”

Mr. Stark wanted to be as precise as possible in his portrayal of the spill-from how it happened as well as its continuing effects. Stark had Nicolas —> Read More