The Boston Marathon bombing of 2013 killed three innocent people, injured over 250 more, and shocked a nation. Three years later, it's the subject of a new feature film from director Peter Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg. Patriots Day is based on various accounts of the Boston Marathon bombing, and features a cast of characters mostly based on real people; Wahlberg's Boston PD Sergeant Tommy Saunders is, perhaps, the most notable fictional character added for dramatic effect. And as photos of the Patriots Day actors vs. the real people show, the movie took effort to make it feel as realistic as possible.
Most actors in Patriots Day are playing real people who were involved in the Boston Marathon bombing and the investigation that followed. John Goodman and J.K. Simmons play two men on the side of the law enforcement while Themo Melikidze and Alex Wolff play bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, respectively. But, as we all know from previous experiences, based-on-true-story movie characters don't always look like their real life counterparts. And they don't necessarily have to. After all, there are more important things that whether or not Wolff and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have the same haircut. With that in mind, here are photos of the real Patriots Day characters vs. the actors playing them in the film.
J.K. Simmons As Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese
Simmons plays Watertown Sgt. Jeff Pugliese in the film, and got to work closely with the man himself behind the scenes. Pugliese acted as a consultant on the film, and even allowed filmmakers to shoot in his home.
As you can tell from the photo of the real Pugliese above, they definitely got the mustache right.
John Goodman As Commissioner Ed Davis
John Goodman plays former Police Commissioner Ed Davis, who met with Goodman prior to filming.
Speaking with the Boston Herald, the real Davis gave Patriots Day his blessing, saying, "I think people will learn a lot about the behind-the-scenes process that goes into an investigation like this."
Kevin Bacon As Special Agent Richard DesLauriers
Bacon is taking on the role of FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers, the man who was in charge of the Boston Division of the FBI and oversaw the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings.
Jimmy O. Yang As Dun Meng
Silicon Valley's Jimmy O. Yang plays Dun Meng in Patriots Day, the man who was carjacked by Tamerlan Tsarnaev during the manhunt that followed the Boston Marathon Bombings.
Like DesLauriers and Davis, Meng also cooperated with the filmmakers behind Patriots Day.
Alex Wolff As Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Alex Wolff, formerly of The Naked Brothers Band fame, plays Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger Tsarnaev brother who admitted to planting the pressure-cooker bombs with his brother and was recently found guilty for his role in the bombing.
Themo Melikidze As Tamerlan Tsarnaev
Themo Melikidze, a relative newcomer, plays Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the film. The elder Tsarnaev brother died during the manhunt in 2013.
Melissa Benoist As Katherine Russell
Melissa Benoist (Supergirl) appears in Patriots Day as Katherine Russell, Tamerlan Tsarnaev's young wife, who was never charged in relation to her husband's crimes.
Lawyer says 'Patriots Day' is unfair to Tamerlan Tsarnaev,'s widow Katherine Russell. https://t.co/q9yP9UlIRO— necn (@NECN) December 22, 2016
Russell was investigated and questioned by law enforcement following the bombing, but has only spoken through her lawyer to the press. It's clear she was not involved in the making of Patriots Day.
Overall, the cast and filmmakers of Patriots Day seems to have been dedicated to making their characters as true to the real people that inspired them as possible.