Actor John Goodman’s remarkable career has spanned more than 30 years and he’s appeared in more than 70 movies. But his latest role stands out as a “tremendous undertaking” based on real-life events.
In his upcoming film, “Patriots Day,” Goodman stars as former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. The drama is based on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and the manhunt for the attackers.
“There’s no actor who looks more like Ed Davis. They’re both tall, larger than life,” the film’s director Peter Berg described Goodman.
“He’s got a personality, I don’t,” Goodman joked on “CBS This Morning” Monday. “Just the way – he knows everybody, he’s just Mr. Boston.”
Goodman said he felt a lot of pressure playing the role.
“I put so much pressure on myself and we had such a big job to do that I had to just forget about it and focus on what we were doing,” Goodman said.
Davis first met Goodman when the actor was rehearsing his Boston accent.
“I tapped him on the back and he said, ‘I can’t do this with you here, I just can’t do it,’” Davis recalled as Goodman laughed.
The movie recreates the Boston Marathon – filmed along the actual marathon route – and the intense manhunt for the suspects.
“The scene was horrible. It looked like a war zone there,” Davis recalled of the day of the tragedy. “And so it was important for us to take care of the wounded and save as many lives as we could.” Three spectators were killed and more than 200 people injured.
“But then to pursue the suspects, it was a case, a sense of urgency and quite frankly, anger among the officers who felt that they had been attacked. And they showed their bravery over the next four days to grab these guys.”
Davis also discussed the “complex undertaking” of working with various agencies to pursue the suspects, including some friction with the FBI on when to put out a photo of the suspects.
“I’ve always been focused on the community, so I wanted to get them out quickly,” Davis recalled. Despite the disagreement, Davis said the work could not have been done without the FBI’s help. “There was stress but it all worked itself out.”
“What are some lessons to learn from the response?” asked co-host Charlie Rose.
“Well I think one is the police officers who are out there are compassionate and really focused on putting things right, getting the community back together,” Davis said. “But the other one, Charlie, is the community response – the ‘Boston Strong’ response. The terrorist have to understand that they’re trying to tear us apart, but they’re actually making us stronger by doing this to us. It’s a failed strategy.”
Goodman discussed the humbling experience of playing Davis on screen.
“There’s a respect, there’s a command there naturally, but he also shows up at a scene and he knows all of the officers’ names, how their families are doing. It’s just a tremendous undertaking to do this job,” Goodman said, before bursting into laughter saying, “And I’m talking like I’m him.”
“The sense of responsibility is enormous,” he added.
Davis played a large role in the film’s development, including offering little details to portray the events in the movie as accurately as possible. Davis also commended the team behind the movie, including actor-producer Mark Wahlberg. In an earlier appearance on “CBS This Morning,” Wahlberg expressed concern that it might be too soon to release the film.
Davis said it was “tremendous” working with Wahlberg, and that the team had gotten the film right.
“Mark has an incredible commitment to the community, to the city. And so when you combine him with Peter Berg’s sort of human side of telling a story and then Michael Radutzky’s, you know, hard-hitting journalist, that combination was incredible,” Davis said. “They got real good content in this – real facts, behind-the-scenes stuff.”
“Patriots Day” opens in select cities on Dec. 21st and nationwide on Jan. 13th.