'Patriots Day' Boston Premiere: Emotional Crowd Gives Blessing to Marathon Bombing Drama
"I actually hope that the takeaway from this film is not that much different from the takeaway from Orlando or San Bernardino or Paris," said director Peter Berg. "At the end of the day, this is a film about the power of community and the power of love, and it's an extremely shining example of just how good we can be."
It was an emotional night for Bostonians as they relived the horrors of the 2013 marathon bombing during a special screening of Peter Berg's Patriots Day, held just blocks away from the terror attack that left three people dead and scores of individuals without limbs. On Wednesday, star Mark Wahlberg joined multiple survivors on the red carpet at the Boch Center Wang Theatre, such as husband-and-wife amputees Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky as well as the real-life law enforcement officials who helped crack the case.
"I'm excited for people to see it because ultimately, it's extremely emotional, but I think the joy and the pride is going to triumph again," Wahlberg said before the screening. "To see people come back stronger — just look at Patrick and Jessica. I take such joy and pride to see their strength and courage and the love that they have for one another."
The couple was accompanied by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who said it was her first time attending a Hollywood premiere.
"I'm here to be with Jess and Patrick and to talk about a bill I just introduced in the Senate to make sure that survivors of traumatic amputations have access to cutting-edge medical facilities," the Democrat explained, while ignoring a question about a possible 2020 White House run. "This is something where you try to make something good happen from something terrible."
It was Berg who invited Warren and baseball star David "Big Papi" Ortiz to the hometown unveiling of the Dec. 21 release from CBS Films.
"Big Papi is in the film," Berg said. "He said at Fenway, 'This is our f—ing city. No one's gonna dictate our freedom.' And that certainly resonated with me. Not only is he a great sports hero, but he's a member of the Boston community. Like everyone, he reacted like a Bostonian, and I find him very inspiring."
Although some critics thought it was "too soon" for Berg to start production, the crowd appeared to be won over as cheers mixed with tears throughout the two-hour movie.
"I actually hope that the takeaway from this film is not that much different from the takeaway from Orlando or San Bernardino or Paris," Berg added. "At the end of the day, this is a film about the power of community and the power of love, and it's an extremely shining example of just how good we can be. In the wake of this new horrific reality of terrorist attacks that are not that uncommon, Boston showed us that these attacks won't divide us, they won't break us, they won't destroy us."
After the screening, revelers headed to Grill 23, where Massachusetts resident and CBS vice chairman Shari Redstone mingled with CBS chief Les Moonves, while former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis (played by John Goodman) and FBI special agent in charge Richard DesLauriers (played by Kevin Bacon) noshed on local specialties, including lobster tails and clam chowder — or "chowdah," as the multiple Wahlbergs in the room call it.