JK Simmons Cast In Boston Bombing Flick

Watertown Massachusetts Will Not Be Location For ‘Patriots’ Day’ Filming

Update: Watertown will not be the location for the the shootout scene in Patriots’ Day, according to Boston’s WBZ local news. The residents on Laurel Street, the scene of the shootout with the Tsarnaev brothers, were sent fliers asking if they would have a problem with the film reenacting the scene on location.

Watertown residents, according to WBZ, gave permission for the filming. But town officials have announced a change in plans.

“Upon further reflection, filming the recreation of the Watertown Shootout when police encountered the Boston Marathon Bombers at the intersection of Dexter Avenue and Laurel Street is not in the best interest of Watertown.”

J.K. Simmons has signed on to co-star with Mark Wahlberg in Patriots’ Day, a film about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. The Hollywood Reporter stated in an article about the film that Wahlberg would play Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, now a WBZ-TV security analyst.

J.K. Simmons will play Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese of the Watertown Police Department, the officer who engaged in a face-to-face showdown with terrorist brothers 26-year old Tamerlan and 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Pugliese had a central part in the shootout with the fleeing brothers.

In March, 2015, the Boston Globe reported about Pugliese giving testimony in federal court. He gave details about the harrowing chase that evolved, four days after the bombing. Some of his fellow officers were on Laurel Street involved in a gunfire exchange with the Tsarnaevs. Pugliese cut through back yards and climbed over fences in order to provide backup. He was able to come up behind Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was distracted by exchanging gunfire with the other officers. Pugliese got a few shots off before Tamerlan noticed him.

At one point, Pugliese told the court, he had been forced to reload. At that moment, Tamerlan charged him, firing with a 9 millimeter pistol. Pugliese was only six feet from him when Tamerlan realized his gun had jammed.

Tamerlan threw his gun at Pugliese, striking him in the leg. He turned and ran, with the officer in pursuit. They ran down the driveway, across the sidewalk and into the street. Pugliese tackled Tamerlan, and then was joined by two other officers to help subdue him.

Suddenly, in what amounts to possibly the most bizarre turn of events in the whole encounter, the other officers were yelling at Pugliese to get out of the road. Barreling toward them was a stolen Mercedes Benz, driven by Tamerlan’s brother. Pugliese grabbed the terrorist by the belt, attempting to drag him out of the road. But Dzhokhar plowed over his own brother at 40 miles an hour, dragging him down the street, leaving him bleeding in the road before roaring off.

Pugliese and the other two officers ran to Tamerlan. He was still alive at that point, but was pronounced dead at the Boston Hospital.

Police found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at 7 p.m. that same evening, hiding inside a tarp-wrapped boat in a Watertown backyard.

The 2013 Boston Marathon took place on April 15. It was the 117th running of the world’s oldest annual marathon. The race is held on Patriots’ Day, which marks the 1775 battles of Lexington and Concord: the start of the Revolutionary War. History.com documents the events that unfolded that day as runners crossed the finish line.

“At approximately 2:49 that afternoon, with more than 5,600 runners still in the race, two pressure-cooker bombs – packed with shrapnel and other materials and hidden in backpacks that were placed on the ground amidst crowds of marathon-watchers – exploded within seconds of each other near the finish line along Boylston Street. The blasts instantly turned the sun-filled afternoon into a gruesome scene of destruction and chaos. Three spectators died: a 23-year-old woman, a 29-year-old woman, and an 8-year-old boy, while more than 260 other people were wounded. Sixteen people lost legs; the youngest amputee was a 7-year-old girl.”

There were many heroes that day, in the middle of the chaos. Never knowing if there were more bombs to go off, or what was really happening, people rushed to help, to stop bleeding, to scoop up victims. If it had not been for the quick thinking of many Bostonians, the casualty list could have been much greater.

Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese remains one of the understated heroes of that horrific crime. He told the Federal court that he had ended his shift and was heading home, but heard the gunshots and went to the aid of his comrades.

“I wanted to save their lives.”

A CBS film, Patriots’ Day will be directed by Peter Berg and distributed by Lionsgate.

The Hollywood Reporter said that Berg made a statement about Simmons.

“Beyond his considerable talents, J.K. Simmons is a person who respects the solemn trust that these real-life heroes are putting in our hands. This is an actor who will represent the role in the best way possible.”

Filming will begin next month in Boston.

[Photo of J.K. Simmons via Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP]

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