The families of two men who died following a plane crash on the set of Tom Cruise’s new movie American Made claim the actor is partially to blame for the fatal accident.
Alan Purwin and Carlos Berl died on the scene when their twin-engine Piper Smith Aerostar 600 went down during filming. Jimmy Lee Garland, a third pilot involved, no longer has feeling in his lower body.
According to new court documents obtained by The Blast, the families of Purwin and Berl claim that Tom and the film’s director, Doug Liman, wanted a “high-risk, action-packed motion picture,” which contributed to the circumstances surrounding the tragic crash.
“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.
They allege the production companies even cut corners before the flight in an effort 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,” they continue.
Tom, 55, and Doug, 52, haven’t been named as defendants in the suit, but the families say they were “negligent” in allowing the flight to take place under such conditions.
What’s more, they argue Tom “a well-qualified pilot very familiar with the Aerostar and the routing” could have flown the plane himself.
In the lawsuit brought against the producers of the film — Imagine Entertainment, Vendian Entertainment and Cross Creek Pictures — it's also claimed an executive producer sent a formal complaint to the insurance company about the duo.
“DL [Doug Liman] and TC [Tom 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.
In a separate email to the same executive producer, Purwin described the film “the most dangerous project” he’d ever worked on.
“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 Hollywood duo are yet to comment on the matter.