‘Big Men’ Trailer Drills Into Big Oil, Big Money, and Big Danger

Bryan Enk
·Contributor

Oil, money, and civil unrest collide in the trailer for "Big Men," a sure to be controversial documentary by journalist Rachel Boynton that Variety has called "a real-life 'Chinatown' or 'There Will Be Blood.'"

"Big Men" focuses on Kosmos Energy, an American international oil company based in Dallas, upon its discovery of the first oil in the history of the West African Republic of Ghana in late 2007. The documentary chronicles Boynton's years-long investigation into this billion-dollar discovery, revealing a tale of greed and deception as big money is negotiated in one of the poorest — and most dangerous — places on Earth.

Production on "Big Men" commenced in April 2007 at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, where Boynton filed with Kosmos Energy months before their historic discovery, which has been named "the Jubilee Field." Over the next four years, the two-person crew (DP Jonathan Furmanski with Boynton herself recording sound) filmed seven times in Ghana, six times in Nigeria, seven times in Texas, once at Kosmos Energy's board of directors gathering in New York and once on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, gaining insider's access into top secret meetings of both billion-dollar companies and heavily armed militant groups.

'Big Men' (Boyton Films)
'Big Men' (Boyton Films)

Notably, the trailer starts off with a stand-alone title card that boldly exclaims "FROM EXECUTIVE PRODUCER BRAD PITT." The Hollywood A-lister has certainly been lending his name and resources to projects that promote social awareness lately, having been an executive producer on another hard-hitting documentary, "The House I Live In" (2012), and a producer on "The Normal Heart" (2014), the upcoming TV movie adaptation of Larry Kramer's 1985 play that focuses on the rise of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s as seen through the eyes of writer/activist Ned Weeks (to be played by Mark Ruffalo).

Pitt's pal and frequent collaborator George Clooney has a connection to "Big Men" filmmaker Rachel Boynton as well, as he's developing a fictional adaptation of her earlier documentary, "Our Brand is Crisis" (2005), which focuses on the American political campaign marketing tactics by Greenberg Carville Shrum (GCS) in the 2002 Bolivian presidential election, which resulted in Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada being elected President of Bolivia ahead of Evo Morales.

"Big Men" will open in limited release on Mar. 14.