After news outlets reported Wednesday morning that a deal had been reached for The Fighter scribes Eric Johnson and Paul Tamasy to adapt the forthcoming book Boston Strong, about the Boston Marathon tragedy, for the screen, there were immediate questions about the fast turnaround from a national tragedy to perceived “entertainment” in the form of a film.
Casey Sherman is a true-crime writer (his book The Finest Hours is also in development with Johnson, Tamasy, and producer Dorothy Aufiero) who is currently co-reporting and writing Boston Strong, one of three books in development about the bombing. Boston Strong, which will hit bookshelves next April, will take readers from April 15, 2013, the day of the bombing, to Patriots Day 2014, “which is going to be a completely emotional and inspirational day that is going to show the world that Boston and the United States can’t be defeated by either homegrown terrorists or terrorists from other countries,” Sherman explained on the phone with EW this afternoon.
Sherman understands the concerns many have expressed about how quickly it all seems to be coming together, but points out that even though a film deal is now in the beginning stages, it’ll still take years for the movie to hit the screen. “What I want to clarify to people that don’t understand is this [movie option] wasn’t a query that came in from some Hollywood executive in Los Angeles that had their interest piqued by national news. The lead producer on this project is Dorothy Aufiero, who produced The Fighter. Dorothy is a Watertown, Massachusetts, resident. Dorothy Aufiero was in lockdown with the rest of us while this was all happening. She’s as much part of the story as anybody. This was incredibly personal to the filmmakers, and incredibly personal to the writers.”
That “personal” touch, highlighting the heroes and key players in this story, is what Sherman is going after. “My co-author [Dave Wedge] is a longtime reporter for the Boston Herald who has covered this case since day one and our focus, the story we want to tell, is a story about a city that united when faced with pure evil,” Sherman explained. ” … You had a city that locked itself down; that had never happened before in American history. It wasn’t out of fear. That was out of the fact that the city was going to eliminate any escape route that these bombers may have had, and this city was going to track them down. It’s quite unique in the history of American crime.”
For now, Sherman understands that both the book and the film offer a unique opportunity. “I know that the Kathryn Bigelows of the world, the Oliver Stones and Paul Greengrasses, they all received criticism about their depictions of United 93, Twin Towers, and the killing of Osama Bin Laden,” Sherman said. “Some people feel it’s too fresh, but if you do the story justice [the movie] becomes part of the history that we will hold about this case for years to come.”