Filmmaker Austin Stark Was Determined To Cast Peter Fonda In His New Bp Oil Spill Drama The Runner Because The Veteran Actor Was Already Somewhat Of An Expert On The Environmental Disaster.
The political drama, set in the aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico incident, serves as Stark’s feature film directorial debut and he reveals he was widely advised to cast Bruce Dern in the role of Rayne Price, following his Oscar nomination for Nebraska – but it was Fonda he really wanted for the job.
Stark tells WENN, “I was very adamant that Peter Fonda be in the movie from the very beginning. Bruce Dern had just been nominated (for Nebraska) and people were talking about him for the role, but I wanted Peter Fonda.
“He produced the oil spill documentary The Big Fix (that examines the April, 2010 oil spill) and he was very interested in the cause.”
Stark admits he couldn’t quite believe it when the Easy Rider star actually signed on to the project, which features Nicolas Cage as an embattled politician whose career unravels following a sex scandal.
The filmmaker continues, “(Fonda) hasn’t done a role like this before. He’s one of the most under-appreciated actors.
“Showing up on set the first day and doing a scene with Nicolas Cage and Peter Fonda as a first-time director; two legendary actors in a movie that I’m directing is a pretty incredible experience.”
Stark hopes the movie will turn the spotlight back on New Orleans, Louisiana and its residents, who are still trying to rebuild five years on from the disaster.
The director, who made an effort to cast locals directly affected by the spill, adds, “I hope this film brings awareness to the disaster because it still remains relevant five years later. BP said they would pay people that lost money as a result of the oil spill but it was a nightmare. People didn’t receive money for years and some didn’t at all. Granted BP has paid out a lot of money as of today but a lot of the local fisherman, the restaurant and hotel owners affected by the spill had to suffer while they weren’t getting paid and a lot of people lost their jobs as a result.
“This is the first narrative feature about the BP oil spill so New Orleans residents were really happy that somebody was tackling their cause. Nic Cage also has lived down there and they see him as part of the community and so they gave us a lot of love.”