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When Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg worked together on their Iraq War film Lone Survivor, it could have been labeled the most important project of their careers. But with Patriot's Day bringing the two of them together again, the Boston Marathon bombing picture might supplant that film as a more important project. And helping them tell the story of the Boston PD's investigation and actions after the event is Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons.
Simmons' casting was announced through an item in Deadline, which has the Whiplash actor playing Sgt. Jeffrey Pugliese. Pugliese, a member of the Watertown Police Department, is best known as one of the officers who engaged in a standoff with the Tsarnaev brothers. Sgt. Pugliese distinguished himself by flanking the two suspects, as well as apprehending Tamerlan Tsarnaev after an exchange of gunfire.
While J.K. Simmons is no stranger to roles in law enforcement, his role in Patriot's Day may be the most athletic we've seen the Best Supporting Actor winner embody. Considering the extreme circumstances of the actual events of Sgt. Jeffrey Pugliese's stand-off with the Tsarnev brothers, as well as the action heavy drama that Peter Berg has been known for in the past decade or so, Simmons will have to do more than throw a chair to intimidate. However, considering how in shape the man was for Whiplash, it's more than a safe assumption that Simmons will be up for the physical demands of his performance.
Two other films, Boston Strong and Stronger, are also in the market to tell stories pertaining to the infamous attack on civilians, though both of those films focus more on participants in the marathon. The advantage that Patriot's Day has going for it is that it's more of a story about the law enforcement efforts to investigate the bombing and bring its perpetrators to justice. In other words, it's a story that's square in Peter Berg's wheelhouse, and his collaboration with Mark Wahlberg and J.K. Simmons means that it should be even more dissimilar to its competition.
Though Mark Wahlberg and J.K. Simmons are the only cast members to be signed for Patriot's Day at the moment, the film's production start date is set for some time this month. With that in mind, Peter Berg is bound to be bringing in fresh talent to fill out the ranks, which means we'll probably be hearing about new additions to the cast in the coming weeks. Admittedly, if further casting news is as promising as what we've shared with you today, this could be a bigger film than we've anticipated.
Patriot's Day is scheduled to start filming this month in its native Boston, and is currently slated for a limited release on December 21st in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles - before going wide on January 13, 2017.