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Tom Cruise Movie That's Just Dropped On Netflix Faced Lawsuit After Tragic Accident On Set

Emily Brown

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Tom Cruise Movie That's Just Dropped On Netflix Faced Lawsuit After Tragic Accident On Set

Producers of a Tom Cruise film which has just arrived on Netflix were hit with a lawsuit after an incident on set resulted in the death of two pilots.

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Cruise's 2017 action film American Made recently arrived on the streaming service to tell the story of Barry Seal, a pilot who worked to smuggle drugs for the Medellin cartel in the 1980s.

The film has received decent reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, with a score of 85 percent on the Tomatometer and an audience score of 78 percent, but during the making of the film one of the planes used to help capture scenes crashed to the ground in Colombia.

Pilots Alan Purwin and Carlos Berl were both killed in the September 2015 incident, while a third occupant, Jimmy Lee Garland, was left paralysed.

Tom Cruise stars as pilot Barry Seal in the 2017 film American Made. Credit: Universal Pictures
Tom Cruise stars as pilot Barry Seal in the 2017 film American Made. Credit: Universal Pictures

In a statement at the time, cited by People, a spokesperson for Universal said: "An aircraft carrying crew members crashed while returning to Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport in Medellin following production wrap on the film [American Made] resulting in two fatalities."

Purwin had worked as a stunt pilot on films since the late 1980s and had flown the Aerostar jet earlier the same day to shoot sequences for American Made. At the end of the day, he was seated in the back of the plane while Berl piloted the flight from Santa Fe de Antioquia to Medellin.

The year after the incident, Purwin’s family filed a wrongful death suit against the producers of the film; Imagine Entertainment, Cross Creek Pictures, Vendian Entertainment and Quadrant Pictures.

The family claimed Berl had not been trained to fly the Aerostar and that the companies were negligent in allowing him to do so, Variety reports. Berl's estate was named as a defendant.

Two pilots died when the plane crashed during production. Credit: Universal Pictures
Two pilots died when the plane crashed during production. Credit: Universal Pictures

Berl’s family also filed a wrongful death suit which named the production companies as well as Garland and Purwin’s estate as defendants. This suit claimed Berl had been compelled to fly the plane despite warning he did not have sufficient experience.

In response, the producers filed a counterclaim against Purwin's company and estate, claiming the pilot had purchased a faulty plane for the film and had exaggerated his credentials so he would be given the job.

They also sued Purwin’s company and Garland’s company in Georgia in a bid to offset liability for the crash.

Purwin's estate argued the production on American Made had been rushed, and that producers failed to provide a pilot with local knowledge for the flight to Medellin.

The various litigation ultimately came to an end in 2019, when the producers reached a settlement to resolve the lawsuits, the terms of which were not disclosed.

Featured Image Credit: Universal

Topics: TV and Film, Tom Cruise, Netflix

Emily Brown
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