Boston Strong is not just a slogan on a T-shirt and finding the right people to act in “Patriots Day” to tell the story of what Boston can do when we pull together was “an awesome responsibility,”
“This story had to be told and it had to be told by Boston,” said owner of Boston Casting, Angela Peri. She said her team employed a special sensitivity in casting “Patriots Day,” the film released in Boston, NY and LA on December 21 tells of the strength and heroism of everyday heroes, and the tireless manhunt by law enforcement to find the perpetrators of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
Boston Casting worked closely with LA casting director Sheila Jaffe, along with the film’s writer/director Peter Berg and actor/producer Mark Wahlberg to meticulously match actors with the key figures in the film. The casting team also had to identify and evaluate Boston accents and ensure those actors portraying medical staff and law enforcement had the necessary training to reflect the appropriate level of proficiency for the role being portrayed.
In order to ensure authenticity, Boston Casting held an open casting that attracted 4,000 people who were motivated to share in telling this story. According to Peri, “A lot of real runners came and wore their marathon jackets and said to me, ‘I was there and this story needs to be told.’”
Along with the 4,000 extras, 147 speaking roles were cast. Boston Casting also worked with Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and other entities to connect with local residents and ensure that people living with disabilities, including those who are a part of the amputee community, interested in being cast, were included in the film. Besides the importance of highlighting the resiliency and strength of the Greater Boston community, Wahlberg and Berg committed to “get it right” and appropriately honor the victims, the survivors, law enforcement, the medical teams and the FBI. This is a story where there was not one hero—it was a true team effort to find those responsible, to care for the families of those whose lives were taken and to care for the survivors whose lives were changed forever.
Boston Strong is not just a slogan on a T-shirt and finding the right people to act in “Patriots Day” to tell the story of what Boston can do when we pull together was “an awesome responsibility,” according to Peri, and she was proud to take it on. “We have worked on many films but take special pride in this project and are grateful for the actors we worked with, who gave their talent, but also their heart, to this project. We are also grateful to the State of Massachusetts for continuing to support films being made here, especially one like this; which should never have been made anywhere else. This is our story and we were allowed to tell it and that is the way it should have been.”