Patriots Day sends non-political message to spread love
Patriots Day actor Mark Wahlberg says film on 2013 Boston Marathon attack is a non-political message to spread love
Patriots Day producer and lead actor Mark Wahlberg said his team did not set out to portray a "super cop" in the movie that recreates the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon.
The drama, which opens here on Jan 12, takes the audience behind the scenes of the manhunt that ensued for the perpetrators.
Wahlberg, 46, a Bostonian, plays Sergeant Tommy Saunders of the Boston Police Department, a composite character of some of the real cops that were working that day.
"There are two central police officers that make up the composite," Wahlberg explained at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, where we met for our interview.
"Danny Keeler was put in charge of the marathon finish line, and Bobby Merner basically headed up the investigation."
He also explained his character's leg injury.
"We were watching real footage of Danny and he had hurt his leg, and we thought that was really interesting. We wanted to really be able to relate to these guys. In no way, shape or form did we want to play any kind of version of a super cop," Wahlberg said.
The script for Patriots Day was drawn from real-life accounts, including those of the first responders, law enforcement investigative team, government officials and actual survivors.
Director Peter Berg made every effort to film as many scenes as possible in the locations where they had actually happened. And for the most part, the production team succeeded in getting them.
Another key element used by the film-makers was the actual footage shot that week by the media and spectators, and surveillance footage, which was incorporated into the film.
The video material enabled the art and costume departments to achieve historical accuracy - much of the archival footage was what the analysts had used to piece together the digital and physical materials from the explosion sites in order to identify the suspects.
As a proud Bostonian, Wahlberg grew up watching the marathon.
"The finish line on Boylston Street is no more than 300 yards (274m) from the school I went to - Snowden International High School in Copley Square. We frequented that whole entire area quite a bit."
Knowing that most people were aware of the main events of the day, the film-makers did intensive research into the behind-the-scenes story.
"I spoke to people that I knew were directly affected and were directly connected to some of the victims," said Wahlberg.
"Everybody felt like they knew what exactly happened, because there was so much intensive media coverage. But there were so many fascinating aspects of the story that we wanted to share."
I think it is a positive and uplifting message of love and people coming together, and it has given me a lot of hope and inspiration. Mark Wahlberg on Patriots Day
There is also an epilogue to the movie that features some of the real survivors that are portrayed in the movie.Wahlberg does not think Patriots Day has any political message about terrorism.
"I think it is a positive and uplifting message of love and people coming together, and it has given me a lot of hope and inspiration.
"There are a lot of crazy things happening in the world that we live in, but there is a lot more good. So I choose to focus on that."
On an interesting side note, Katherine Russell, the widow of one of the terrorists, who is portrayed in Patriots Day as being uncooperative and lawyering up instead of helping law enforcement, recently complained that the movie unfairly portrays her.
Despite claiming to have no knowledge of husband Tamerlan Tsarnaev's plans, she said she did her best to answer questions over multiple sessions with the investigators - something that is not shown in the movie. But the film-makers said they stand by their portrayal.
Ms Russell was never charged with any complicity and has since remarried.