Patriots Day Is Inaccurate, Lawyer for Katherine Russell Says
Patriots Day, the Mark Wahlberg-produced dramatization of the Boston Marathon bombings, took too many liberties in its portrayal of Tamerlan Tsarnaev widow Katherine Russell, her lawyer says.
Speaking with the Associated Press today, lawyer Amato DeLuca says the movie makes Russell seem like she knew about the attacks before they happened, and that she thwarted law enforcement’s attempts to get information out of her during the investigation that followed the explosions.
‘‘It’s just not true,’’ DeLuca tells AP, adding, ‘‘I have no objection to them making a movie. … What I quarrel with is the license they take in portraying Katie as someone who did not cooperate and try to save lives. She did everything she could.’’
Russell has said since the early days of the investigation into the bombings that she was in “absolute shock” on the day of the atrocity. She has never been charged with a crime, and according to DeLuca she has met numerous times with authorities.
The movie, by the way, is by no means a documentary. Wahlberg, who stars in it, doesn’t play an actual Boston cop, but rather a composite character who happens to find himself at the center of the action during all the most important moments. And, although it’s being celebrated as a heartfelt (and deeply researched) tribute to first responders in a city where the nightmarish ordeal of the attack is impossible to forget, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the scene depicting a Watertown car chase scene had a few more explosions and action-movie glitz than it did in real life.
But DeLuca says Russell also takes exception to the where-are-they-know portion of the movie, which comes at the end, and which says this about his client: “Law enforcement continues to seek information on Katherine Russell’s possible involvement in the bombing.’’
‘‘That’s news to me,’’ DeLuca says. “No one has made any suggestion that’s what’s going on. Obviously, it’s been some time since this occurred. Nothing has changed.’’
Richard DesLauriers, a former FBI agent who was involved in the investigation, stands by the movie’s depiction of Russell. ‘‘I have no reason whatsoever to believe that anything about this aspect of the movie is inaccurate,’’ he told the AP. Director Peter Berg, meanwhile, says he tried, unsuccessfully, to get input from Russell on the film’s production. “I asked to meet with her. She wouldn’t meet with me,” he said at a post-screening press conference last week (before the allegations about Russell surfaced). “Her attorney asked if I would submit questions to her in writing, which I did. Those questions went unanswered.” Berg also told media at the time there were still “unresolved” issues about Russell’s role in the bombings.
This isn’t the only time a true Boston story given the Hollywood treatment has come under scrutiny from the real people featured in them. The spokesman for Boston College, Jack Dunn, said he was sickened by the way he was portrayed in Spotlight, the 2015 movie about the Boston Globe’s investigation of sex abuse in the Catholic Church. Dunn said the filmmakers made it seem as if he had shrugged off the abuse of children, and that he was willing to take part in an effort to cover it up—when, he argued, the opposite was true. After pleading his case for months, the studio that made the movie, Open Road Films, eventually came out with a statement that the Dunn character’s dialogue in the movie was fictional and didn’t represent what actually happened. The filmmakers also reportedly paid a settlement to charities for children.