Tom Cruise's upcoming film American Made has not had the smoothest time getting onto the big screen. The film has already had to deal with one lawsuit against it, and now there is a second one. A year ago, on the set of the film, which was being titled Mena at the time, there was a plane crash that resulted in the death of two people. Now, the family of one of them has filed a wrongful death suit against the production companies.
Last year, three members of the crew of American Made were traveling between filming spots while on location in Colombia. The twin-engine Aerostar reportedly ran into bad weather and crashed. American Alan Purwin and Colombian Carlos Burl were killed, while American pilot Jimmy Lee Garland was seriously injured. Now the family of Berl is bringing suit because they claim it was the production company's negligence which led to the crash.
According to a press release sent out announcing the suit. Carlos Burl made the producers of American Made aware that he had limited experience in flying an aircraft like the Aerostar, and would require additional training in order to do so safely. The suit claims that these requests for additional instruction were ignored and that the dangerous flight only took place because filming was behind schedule and things were rushed between filming locations. Ultimately, it was the lack of supervision over the flight by the production company that resulted in the crash.
This is, at a minimum, the second lawsuit that American Made has had to deal with during its production. The film tells the story of Barry Seal, a drug trafficker who turns informant and goes to work for the CIA. Seal's daughter from his first marriage has sued Universal Pictures because she claims to be the executor of her father's estate, and as such, the company should have purchased the rights to Seal's story from her. Instead, Universal reportedly paid Seal's third wife, and the children from that relationship, a combined $350,000 for the rights.
Generally speaking, the producer of a film is responsible for everything that takes place during production. Having said that, it's another question entirely if the production was actually negligent or if the crash was simply an unfortunate accident. Details of the crash were few when it happened, so it's difficult to tell what happened or what the proximate cause of the crash really was. Certainly, this will all come out if the lawsuit moves forward.
American Made was originally scheduled for a January 2017 release, but the movie has apparently been pushed back into the fall because Universal thinks it will do better in that release window. The film will now hit theaters September 29.
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