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Tom Cruise’s ‘insane’ and ‘dangerous’ demands caused death of pilot, family alleges

Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman’s insistence on filming unplanned aerial shots has been listed as one of the reasons behind the death of two crew members, in court documents.

hollywood Updated: Sep 22, 2017 11:44 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Tom Cruise,Doug Liman,American Made
Tom Cruise in a still from American Made.

Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman‘s desire to film a “high-risk, action-packed motion picture” is being stated as the cause behind the deaths of two crew members on the upcoming film, American Made. The estates of Alan Purwin and Carlos Berl - who died on the spot after their twin engine plane crashed while filming - have named Cruise and Liman in legal documents obtained by

“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,” state the documents.

Both families are suing the producers of the film, and each other, for wrongful death. One other crew member survived the crash, but was left with no feeling in his lower body.

The lawsuit alleges that the producers didn’t take necessary precautions while filming, and insisted on shooting several flying sequences.

“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.

The lawsuit also states that one of the producers on set allegedly sent an insurance company a letter of complaint regarding Cruise and Liman’s off-the-cuff decision to shoot dangerous sequences.

“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,” it read, according to the lawsuit.

Alan Purwin with Tom Cruise.

In an email, Alan Purwin, a veteran of hundreds of Hollywood movies like Pear Harbor, Transformer, etc, wrote that American Made was “the most dangerous project I’ve ever encountered.”

“You have no idea the exposure TC and the entire Aerial Team is realizing every time we get in the air,” he wrote, according to the court papers. “There’s a very ‘thin line’ between keeping all aerial activities safe and having an accident. Trust me on this!”

The plane crash took place in September, 2015 and the lawsuit was filed in April, 2016.

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First Published: Sep 22, 2017 11:42 IST