Just like the real-life events of the Boston Marathon Bombing, Watertown features prominently in the movie “Patriots Day,” well sometimes it is the town, and others other locations played the part.
Filmmakers spent several days in Watertown last spring shooting scenes at the former Watertown Police Station, the Dunkin’ Donuts on Main Street, Main Street Mobile, the area near Greg’s Restaurant and the home of Watertown Police Sgt. Jeff Pugliese.
At Thursday’s Patriots Day press conference former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said he was amazed how much they could fit into two hours. On the other hand, Pugliese said some of the scenes shot at his home did not make it into the film.
“They cut a lot out of the movie,” Pugliese said. “It could have been a 3-hour movie.”
While familiar spots can be seen in the movie, not everything made the final cut.
What’s In, What’s Out
Pugliese’s Watertown home was the setting for a couple of scenes featuring J.K. Simmons, who plays the police sergeant in the film.
Simmons can also be seen driving up to the Dunkin’ Donuts on Main Street where he orders a coffee a muffin.
The old Police Station also made it into a couple of scenes, both inside and out. Filmmakers put a fresh coat of paint on the interior of the station, which currently sits vacant. Another scene shows the parking lot to the right of the Police Station, which also sits next to the parking lot of the Watertown Free Public Library.
Many gathered one night to watch the star of Patriots Day, Mark Wahlberg, film a scene at Main Street Mobile. He was seen jumping into a car, roar backward and peel out down Main Street. This scene did not make it into the film.
The area near Greg’s Restaurant on Mount Auburn Street also served as a setting for the movie. While the restaurant cannot be seen, if you look closely you can see Simmons whip a U-turn in that stretch of Mt. Auburn Street. The tile pattern on the exterior of the building where Father & Son Floorcraft is located can be seen in the background.
One note on this scene, in the movie Simmons is headed home in his minivan when he hears about the shootout. In real-life, the sergeant was at the Police Station when he heard about the encounter with the Bombers.
It also appears the rear of the Watertown Savings Bank main branch made it into the movie, although in Patriots Day it is called Watertown State Bank.
Oh, and if you remember being awoken early on a Sunday morning by a helicopter making several passes over the Westside of Watertown, you will see several seconds of the footage in the movie.
Playing the Part of Watertown
Not all scenes could be filmed in town. Some places did not make the film because it was not practical to use the real locations, and other times there were objections.
“If there was even one person in the neighborhood who wasn’t comfortable with us filming there, we were more than happy to move somewhere else,” Patriots Day director Peter Berg said in the movie press packet.
This was the case of Laurel Street, where filmmakers proposed filming the shootout in the actual location of the event. Several people objected to the filming in the area, some saying that it would bring back bad memories from the shootout for their children.
The shootout was recreated in two locations.Tthe filmmakers constructed facades of homes in Rockland similar to those in the area of Laurel Street and Dexter Avenue. The scene was the last one shot for Patriots Day and the set was the second largest. The action during that scene was recreated in an area of Malden.
“We spared no expense in building a Watertown set out on an old military base to film all the loud, noisy explosions so that no one from the real town had to relive it,” said special effects supervisor Matthew Kutcher.
Similarly, the finish line scenes could not be filmed on Boylston Street in Boston, so a full-scale replica was constructed in South Weymouth.
Filmmakers frequently intercut real security video into the film, and they also incorporated the actual sounds of the shootout.
“The gun battle at Watertown contains some sounds of a recording captured by a bystander,” said sound editor Piero Mura. “And the furious pop-pop-pop of the real battle was our guide in creating the aural architecture of the confrontation between cops and terrorists.”
Scenes of the search for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev where police and SWAT teams scoured Watertown also were exported out of town. Framingham stood in for Watertown in this case.
A soundstage in Peabody stood in for the Arsenal Mall, where more than 2,500 police officers from dozens of police departments and law enforcement agencies gathered for the manhunt.
Also, filmmakers did not use Dave Henneberry’s home on Franklin Street for the scene when Tsarnaev was found in the boat. A similar looking home on Harrison Street in Framingham was used. Henneberry visited the set along with some police officers, according to the press notes.
“I was a little nervous, my heart was pounding a little,” Henneberry said, according to the press notes. “Then I turned the corner and just went, ‘oh, wow.’ They did a great job.”
While his home did not make it into the film, Henneberry can be seen in Patriots Day standing on a porch and being told by police to go back into his home during the manhunt.
In all, Patriots Day was filmed in 14 communities in the Boston area: downtown Boston, Cambridge, Dorchester, Fenway, Framingham, Hopkinton, Jamaica Plain, Malden, Newton, Peabody, Quincy, Rockland, South Weymouth, Woburn, sound stages in Peabody and, of course, Watertown.