20 Facts About Peter Berg’s ‘Patriots Day’

Patriots Day is a passion project for filmmaker Peter Berg and is the final film in his film trilogy based on actual events. Peter Berg reunites with Mark Wahlberg once again to give audiences an inside look at what happened before, during, and after the Boston Marathon Bombing. The bombing took place on April 15, 2013, and while some may say that this Hollywood retelling is too soon, Berg wanted to make the film while the event was still fresh in our minds. Berg poured his heart and soul into this film and wanted Wahlberg to be part of the project because he was from Boston and could be held responsible for how the film portrayed the tragic event as well as how the film represented the city of Boston.

While watching Patriots Day, it is clear that Berg poured his heart and soul into this film. You can see throughout the film that Berg wanted to pay tribute to the real men and women that were part of the event. Wahlberg to be part of the project because he was from Boston and could be held responsible for how the film portrayed the tragic event as well as how the film represented the city of Boston as a whole. Together, Berg and Wahlberg prove for the third time that they are a great team.

With Patriots Day opening nationwide this weekend, I thought now would be the perfect time to discuss some of the interesting facts that I learned during a press conference that I attended. The press event featured Joshua Zetumer (co-writer), Matt Cook (co-writer), Peter Berg (director/co-writer), Mark Wahlberg (Tommy Sauders), Michelle Monaghan (Carol Saunders), Jimmy O. Yang (Dun Meng), Themo Melikidze (Tamerlan Tsarnaev), J.K. Simmons (Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese), and Michael Beach (Governor Deval Patrick). These are 20 interesting facts that I personally took away from attending the informative event. 

20. Matt Cook believes that Patriots Day is the best film he has ever worked on from cast to the importance of the story.

19. According to Peter Berg, making an action or suspense film was not his goal when working with Wahlberg on the film. Berg wanted to make sure he focused on themes of love, inclusion, and support in his film. He wanted to make sure those elements didn’t get lost while telling the story.

18. Mark Wahlberg took on the project so that the people of Boston could hold him accountable. He mentioned that knowing this put him at ease even though there was still a lot of pressure put on him to tell the story accurately.

17. JK Simmons spent some time with the real Jeffrey Pugliese and realized he looked the part. Simmons spent some time with Pugliese when he was injured and was put on disability. Simmons also pointed out that Pugliese was on the set the entire time.

16. Michael Beach didn’t have a chance to meet with Governor Deval Patrick before shooting the film. He watched news clips to prepare. Patrick met Beach two weeks into shooting the film. They spoke for about 3 hours and discussed the shutting down of the city.

15. Jimmy O. Yang is best known for his comedy. He mentioned that the role was a challenge, but he could relate to Dun Meng. Yang said that Meng was open to talking to him about his thoughts, emotions, and his personal backstory before and during the bombing. Yang worked very close with Meng because he wanted to make it right. His mood was serious on the set.

14. Themo Melikidze was delighted to work on the film and said that it was his first meaty role. He wanted to work on this film because he got to work with his heroes while also loved that the film paid tribute to the city of Boston and it’s people.

13. When talking to various people about the film, Berg stated the most common question he is asked is why? His answer is because it is more emotionally charged when an event is still fresh in people’s minds and because of this he was able to obtain micro details. He also wanted to note that while the Boston bombing wasn’t a huge attack, it is now the type of attack that our nation has started to see happen again and again throughout the years.

12. Michelle Monaghan stated that during the reenactment of the bombing, she got to meet some of the real citizens of Boston. She found the experience to be very humbling as she was able to resonate with them. She felt that so many people were very supportive of the film being made.

11. When working on the script writer Joshua Zetmer spent a lot of time digging through the material. He worked with Berg and Cook to find the right story that they all as a group wanted to tell.

10. When preparing to make the film, Wahlberg and Berg went to Boston to talk about the film with a lot of the citizens. Berg said that they met with a lot of people and that there was a lot of mixed reactions to the idea. Berg said that he had to generalize the feeling of Boston.

9. Alex Wolff and Themo Melikidze spent a lot of time together to make sure their on-screen relationship was believable. Melikidze says that they had an instant bond and that whenever he now visits Los Angeles, he stays at Wolff’s house.

9. When asked about the families of the people who died in the attack, Berg said that he chose not to focus on the deaths. He said while the families were very supportive of the film being made, they didn’t want their loved ones to be mentioned in the actual film.

8. It was very important to J.K. Simmons to make sure he got the role right. He wanted to become Pugliese down to his mannerisms.

7. Melikidze said that the most memorable moment from filming took place during the reenactment of the bombing. He said, a cop looked at him while in wardrobe and came up to him and said, “I want to squash your head in.”

6. Yang said that he is very comfortable working in improv and that his improv skills helped a lot with taking on the role of Dun Meng.

5. Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg are both big fans of non-fiction films. They love telling real stories about real people.

4. When working on the material, Wahlberg and Berg sat down with Monaghan to work on the lines so they came off natural and genuine.

3. When asked to discuss (SPOILERS) the scene where they find one of the terrorist brothers in the boat, Berg said that it wasn’t very clear what happened during that moment in real life. There has been a lot of debate about whether the Boston Police or the Watertown Police were responsible for the arrested. Berg said he decided to go with the Boston PD because it “felt right.”

2. Wahlberg says that he is very proud of Boston and the strength that they have shown since the bombing. He mentioned that it is beautiful to see all walks of life coming together and embracing one another.

1. While filming the bombing sequence, there were about 800 extras that took part in the scene. The cast said it was incredible to see 800 people go quiet while filming the scene.


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