James Cameron said he would never make a movie about the OceanGate submersible tragedy, but MindRiot Entertainment just announced they officially have one in the works.
MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday. The news comes after MindRiot announced a planned OceanGate docuseries with the same name earlier this month.
“Black-ish” producer E. Brian Dobbins signed on to co-produce, with MindRiot’s Justin MacGregor and Jonathan Keasey set to co-write. According to Deadline, the feature will cover periods of time from before the OceanGate submersible launched its dive to visit the Titanic wreckage, to the five-day ordeal in which search-and-rescue efforts raced against the clock to save the five passengers who ostensibly had dwindling oxygen, to after the discovery that the submersible had imploded, claiming all five lives.
OceanGate’s Titan submersible was reported missing after it lost contact with the Canadian vessel Polar Prince less than two hours into its dive on June 18, about 900 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, setting off an extensive search led by authorities in the U.S. and Canada. Wreckage from the submersible was found June 22 near the Titanic.
“The Titan Tragedy is yet another example of a misinformed and quick-to-pounce system, in this case, our nonstop, 24-7 media cycle that convicts and ruins the lives of so many people without any due process,” Keasey told Deadline.
“Our film will not only honor all those involved in the submersible tragedy, and their families, but the feature will serve as a vessel that also addresses a more macro concern about the nature of media today.”
Keasey continued that “truth is all that matters,” adding that the world has a right to know the truth, “not the salacious bait crammed down our throats by those seeking their five minutes of fame.”
Keasey did not immediately respond to the L.A. Times’ request for comment.
In July, “Titanic” director Cameron shot down what he called “offensive” rumors that he planned to make a film about the OceanGate tragedy. He set the record straight on X, formerly Twitter, less than a month after the submersible wreckage was discovered.
“I don’t respond to offensive rumors in the media usually, but I need to now,” Cameron tweeted. “I’m NOT in talks about an OceanGate film, nor will I ever be.”
A longtime member of the diving community, Cameron had commented publicly in the midst of the ordeal that he had experience designing vehicles able to withstand the depths that the Titan could not and had ventured down to the wreck of the Titanic 33 times himself. In 2012, the director and deep-sea explorer made a historic solo dive to the Challenger Deep, the deepest known point on Earth.
Cameron was also personally affected by the tragedy, as his longtime friend, French Titanic explorer Paul-Henri “P.H.” Nargeolet, was among the passengers who perished in the Titan implosion.
The Oscar-winning filmmaker told the L.A. Times on Wednesday night at Beyond Fest, where a restored version of the extended, 171-minute special edition of Cameron’s 1989 film “The Abyss” screened at the Regency Westwood Village, that the Titan submersible tragedy uncannily came to mind while he was revisiting “The Abyss.”
In the film, a damaged submersible implodes after sinking beyond its crush depth.
“It’s a real tragedy, but the essence of that particular tragedy was they didn’t follow warnings — they didn’t heed the warnings,” said Cameron, who added that the OceanGate submersible’s fate has not deterred him from continuing his own deep-sea research.
“Not at all, because I’ve dived three times that deep, safely,” he said. “I’d get back in the sub tomorrow and go to the bottom of the Challenger Deep.”
L.A. Times staff writer Jen Yamato contributed to this report.