by director Todd Haynes
I’m very proud to be able to share with you my new film, Dark Waters, starring Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins and Bill Camp. The film is based on the remarkable true story, first broken in a New York Times exposé, about a Cincinnati-based lawyer named Rob Bilott who unwittingly discovers, and spends years exposing, the shocking truth behind DuPont and the chemicals used to produce Teflon. It’s a kind of film—the whistleblower story—that I’ve never tackled before as a director, but which I’ve always had a deep fascination for, particularly in films like All the President’s Men, Silkwood and The Insider. These are all stories about the disclosure of corruption, but in the most compelling cases they are stories about the tremendous human cost and stigma attached to truth telling, and the devastating challenges individuals go through standing up to systems of power. What Rob uncovers will shock you, but the human story that links him to the victims of this contamination is a powerfully moving one. We also feel it is a film of incredible relevance as we all confront the urgent environmental challenges of our times.
In Dark Waters, what begins as a regional and national contamination of air and water systems results in a global contamination of human bloodstreams—in effect, materializing our interconnectivity as residents of the planet, if not the unelected victims of capitalist and ideological systems. But in the massiveness of this manmade catastrophe, we are invariably linked. Our knowledge and awareness is what connects us to one another, like Rob Bilott to the people he has fought to defend, in what is both an unending struggle for justice and a fight for our lives.
I hope you connect to the film as I have to the people behind the story and the remarkable creative team assembled to make it.