Bos­ton cool to Wahlberg plan for marathon attack movie


Too soon: That’s the over­whelm­ing re­ac­tion to ac­tor Mark Wahlberg’s plans to pro­duce “Pa­tri­ots’ Day,” a fea­ture film about the deadly bomb­ing of the 2013 Bos­ton Marathon.

Columnists, pun­dits and oth­ers say that the pain and suf­fer­ing caused by the attack is still too fresh and too real for the fam­i­lies of the three killed and the hun­dreds of peo­ple in­jured to think about mak­ing a movie. Wahlberg, who grew up in Bos­ton, is tak­ing a beat­ing.

“How does some­one who mar­kets him­self as ‘a Bos­ton guy’ not see that it is far too soon, that the city is still far too sad for its trauma to be trans­formed into mass en­ter­tain­ment?” wrote Eileen McNa­mara, a for­mer colum­nist for The Bos­ton Globe who now teaches jour­nal­ism at Bran­deis Uni­ver­sity.

Oth­ers ques­tioned the tim­ing of the an­nounce­ment — two weeks be­fore the sec­ond an­niver­sary of the bomb­ing and in the mid­dle of the fed­eral trial of Dzhokhar Tsar­naev, the 21-year-old who was con­victed Wed­nes­day in the attack and could be sen­tenced to death. CBS Films said the movie will be based on a first­hand ac­count from for­mer Bos­ton Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Ed Davis of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and mas­sive man­hunt for Tsar­naev and his brother, who died dur­ing a gun­bat­tle with po­lice.

Dur­ing the trial, marathon spec­ta­tors gave heart­break­ing tes­ti­mony about los­ing legs in the ex­plo­sions or watch­ing peo­ple bleed to death on the side­walk. The fa­ther of the youngest vic­tim — 8-year-old Martin Richard — de­scribed mak­ing the ag­o­niz­ing de­ci­sion to go get help for his 6-year-old daugh­ter, whose leg had been blown off, af­ter re­al­iz­ing his son would not make it.

“The trial has served as al­most a movie of the events it­self, mak­ing the con­cur­rent an­nounce­ment of a fic­tion­al­ized por­trayal feel un­nec­es­sary and in­ap­pro­pri­ate,” wrote Char­lotte Wilder of bos­

“Maybe one day, even some­day rel­a­tively soon af­ter the trial, turn­ing the events into a film wor­thy of the story would help the heal­ing and honor the lives of those af­fected,” she wrote.

“But for now, Wahlberg — who plays up his Bos­ton roots when­ever he gets the chance — picked the wrong time to break the news.”

Liz Nor­den, the mother of two sons who each lost a leg in the bomb­ing, said it’s “way too soon” to make a movie about the attack and she be­lieves Hol­ly­wood won’t be able to cap­ture the agony of that day.

“I don’t think that could ever be re-cre­ated,” Nor­den said.

“I’ve sat in the court­room with sur­vivors and fam­ily mem­bers and seen what every­body is go­ing through,” she said.

“It’s been two years ... but peo­ple who live it day in and day out, their lives are just com­ing back some­what. For peo­ple deal­ing with putting legs on ev­ery day or peo­ple who lost loved ones, that doesn’t go away.”

Still, Nor­den said, if some­one has to make a movie about it, it might as well be Wahlberg. “He’s from Bos­ton,” she said.

Davis de­clined to dis­cuss the movie with The As­so­ci­ated Press. He told The Bos­ton Globe he turned down sev­eral ear­lier of­fers for movies and books. He said rep­re­sen­ta­tives of CBS Films told him they were go­ing to make the movie any­way.

“Be­cause I’m a public per­son, I didn’t have the right to stop them. I could ei­ther work with them or not,” Davis told the news­pa­per.

“I talked to them at length and I thought it would be bet­ter to have some in­put — to make sure that the de­pic­tion was done prop­erly.”

Wahlberg’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives did not re­turn calls and emails from The As­so­ci­ated Press seek­ing com­ment.

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