Hollywood actor Martin Sheen says he agreed to play the role of controversial Warren Anderson only on the condition that the then Union Carbide boss is not portrayed positively in the film based on the 1984 Bhopal gas leak tragedy that killed thousands of people.
"I would not have played Anderson, if he was going to be portrayed as heroic. He was not. After the initial tragedy, he could have taken responsibility, cleaned up the mess and brought in a medical team to help the people that were still suffering. It would have made a difference," Sheen told PTI in a telephonic interview from his home in Malibu in the US.
"But he did not have the courage. He could not find that moment of clarity. He could not face accepting his responsibility. That’s the difference between heroes and villains," the actor said about Anderson, an American and the former Union Carbide chief Executive who died in September this year at the age of 94.
Sheen had planned to visit Bhopal to promote the film and meet the victims but had to cancel the trip due to visa issues.
The film, ‘Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain’, releasing on December 5, is a fictionalised account of the biggest man-made industrial disaster in history in the wake of the gas leak at Union Carbide which occurred on the night of December 2-3.
The 74-year-old actor, best known for his performances in ‘Badlands’, ‘Apocalypse Now’, ‘Gandhi’, ‘The Final Countdown’, ‘The Departed’ and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’, said he agreed to do the film to bring out the greed of corporate America.
“He was not the first CEO from the west to go to the third world and use their resources and labour while ignoring the health of people there. It happened with the oil companies and it continues to happen. Corporate America is universal. It is not patriotic, it is profitable. That’s the main concern,” the actor said. Sheen hopes the Ravi Kumar-directed film, produced by Sahara Movie Studios and Rising Star Entertainment and also starring Mischa Barton, Kal Penn, Raajpal Yadav and Tannishtha Chatterjee, would be “a source of remembrance and healing for the victims”.