Watertown Police Sgt. Jeffrey Pugliese, one of the heroes of the Watertown Shootout, will be played by Oscar winner J.K. Simmons in the upcoming film “Patriots Day.”
The film, being made by CBS Films and Lionsgate, will chronicle the events around the Boston Marathon Bombings, including the shootout in Watertown in which Watertown Police faced the Tsarnaev brothers.
Pugliese had just gotten off duty on the night of the shootout, but raced to the scene in his family’s minivan and flanked the Tsarnaevs. He helped capture Tamerlan, who later died at hospital.
Simmons, who won Best Supporting Actor in 2015 for his role in Whiplash, has been in town working with Pugliese. The actor went on a ride along with Pugliese, and on Thursday he attended roll call where he met several officers, including some involved in the manhunt for Djokhar Tsarnaev, according to film producers.
Director Peter Berg said he believes Simmons is well suited to play the role of one of the Watertown Police officers who stopped the bombers.
“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,” Berg said. “This is an actor who will represent the role in the best way possible.”
The film also stars Boston-native Mark Wahlberg. He will play a composite Boston Police Department officer who is central to the investigation and manhunt, according to CBS Films.
Patriots Day will start filming next month in Boston.
For many, news of the film being shot in Watertown has not been met with open arms. Filmmakers have approached the residents of Laurel Street – the site of the shootout – and town officials about shooting a reenactment of the events, complete with gunshots late into the evening.
While some want the film to be as accurate as possible, others say they do not want to relive the traumatic events.