Tom Cruise has never met an action sequence he didn’t like. His lust for shots of himself flying through the mountains of Colombia in his new movie, “American Made,” may have led to the plane crash that killed two pilots working on the film in Sep. 2015, according to a lawsuit filed by the pilots’ families.
The April 2016 lawsuit, obtained by “The Blast,” doesn’t directly name Cruz or director Doug Liman as defendants, but attributes the deaths of pilots Alan Purwin and Carlos Berl partially to “[Cruise] and Liman’s enthusiasm for multiple takes of lavish flying sequences.”
Purwin and Berl died on the scene after their twin-engine Piper Smith Aerostar 600 went down in the Colombian mountains.
A third pilot, Jimmy Lee Garland, was left without feeling in his lower body.
The lawsuit indicates that Purwin demonstrated marked concern for the safety of the aircraft as the scenes continued to ramp up and made his feelings clear to an executive producer weeks before the crash.
“You have no idea the exposure TC and the entire Aerial Team is realizing every time we get in the air. There’s a very ‘thin line’ between keeping all aerial activities safe and having an accident. Trust me on this!” Purwin wrote in an email to the producer.
He even wrote the insurance company covering the production: “DL [Director Liman] and TC [Cruise] [are] adding entire scenes and aerial shots on the fly. Had to bring in Uni Safety to help wrangle them. In the last 48 hours this has become the most insane s*** I’ve ever dealt with.”
Later in the email, Purwin called the film “the most dangerous project I’ve ever encountered.”
The plaintiffs call the final mission that led to the demise of Purwin and Berl “a spontaneous, rushed, ad hoc mission over unfamiliar terrain, in unfamiliar weather, from a small jungle airstrip.”
They wish that Cruise, a pilot himself, would’ve taken his own risks, calling him “a well-qualified pilot very familiar with the Aerostar and the routing.”
“American Made” follows Barry Seal (Cruise), a former Trans World Airlines pilot, who smuggled drugs for the Medellin Cartel in the ’80s before becoming an informant for the DEA to avoid jail time.
The movie hits theaters Sep. 29. Watch trailer below showing massive plane stunts.
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