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David Ortiz has three World Series rings. Now, the slugger better known as “Big Papi” will have a big-screen credit to add to his résumé.
This month, Ortiz will be whisked in to shoot a scene for the Mark Wahlberg starrer Patriots Day, which chronicles the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath. Sources say Ortiz will re-enact the real-life moment when he told fans at Fenway Park, “This is our f—ing city,” following the capture of one of the perpetrators of the bombing.
At the time, the televised speech went viral and even received a thumbs-up from the FCC rather than the typical fine (FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said the sports star “spoke from the heart … [and] I stand with Big Papi.”).
The emotional scene is eschewing the real Fenway in favor of a hangar at the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station. In fact, other scenes of the Pete Berg-helmed drama were shot there, including all of the bombing sequences, due to the sensitivities surrounding the film (Bostonians, still raw from the terrorist attack that left three dead and scores without limbs, expressed concerns about reliving the nightmare on their streets again so soon).
Berg is using actual news footage as b-roll for the bombing sequences, which were shot over six days in late April. But for Big Papi’s spontaneous speech, the director is opting for Ortiz in the flesh. Scheduling is tricky given the Red Sox designated hitter’s six-game-a-week schedule.
CBS Films, which is handling production and marketing of the film, declined to comment. Lionsgate, the film’s distributor, is hoping to open Patriots Day in Boston, New York and Los Angeles on Dec. 21 for an Oscar-qualifying run.
Meanwhile, a competing marathon project, the Jake Gyllenhaal-led Stronger, also is keeping off the Back Bay streets for the bombing sequences and is shooting in an airfield adjacent to the Patriots Day hangar.
A version of this story first appeared in the May 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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