A 2015 plane crash in Colombia claimed the lives of two pilots during filming of the upcoming Tom Cruise vehicle “American Made.” According to new court documents, the action movie’s star is partially to blame.
This past June, two professional pilots fell to their deaths while performing complex tasks on the set of American Made. Their heartbroken families blamed the film’s production crew for not keeping the stunt pilots safe.
Three men were involved in the accident: cinematographer Jimmy Lee Garland, who was left without feeling in half of his body, longtime Hollywood stunt pilot Alan Purwin and co-pilot Carlos Berl, who both died. The crash left the twin-engine plane smoldering in a mountainous region as locals scrambled to help.
The families of Purwin and Berl are suing producers of the film ― Imagine Entertainment, Vendian Entertainment and Cross Creek Pictures ― alleging in the new documents that Cruise and director Doug Liman contributed to the tragedy with excessive flight demands.
They allege that the production companies ignored safety procedures before the flight in order to save time and money.
“Lapses in planning, coordinating, scheduling, and flight safety that were the Defendants’ responsibility resulted in an unqualified and unprepared pilot being pressed into service for a dangerous flight in a vintage aircraft across an unfamiliar mountain pass in bad weather,” state the documents.
Though Cruise and Liman are not named defendants in the lawsuit, the families allege they were “negligent” in allowing the flight to take place under such circumstances.
“The demands of filming in Colombia, together with Cruise’s and director Doug Liman’s enthusiasm for multiple takes of lavish flying sequences, added hours to every filming day and added days to the schedule,” the documents state.
The families go on to argue that Cruise could have piloted the plane, calling him “a well-qualified pilot very familiar with the Aerostar and the routing.”
Emails from Purwin have also been revealed by his family. In them, he called the film “the most insane s**t” he’d ever dealt with and claimed “There’s a very ‘thin line’ between keeping all aerial activities safe and having an accident. Trust me on this!”, before plummeting to his death.
The families are also suing each other, with Berl’s family filing a suit against Garland, the only survivor.
The original lawsuit was filed in April 2016.