Early on in “Spotlight,” the new movie about The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer-winning series uncovering the priest abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, there’s a scene filmed at Fenway Park. A group of reporters and editors, played by John Slattery, Mark Ruffalo, Gene Amoroso, and Brian d’Arcy James, are watching a game and talking about the story.
Producers had hoped to shoot the scene during a Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway because it worked with the production schedule, but that didn’t happen. According to director Tom McCarthy, the Yankees requested to see the script, and after reading it, decided they didn’t want to participate.
“They didn’t think it was appropriate material for the Yankees organization to be affiliated with,” McCarthy told us. “They didn’t want to be part of this and they recommended that the Red Sox not be a part of it, either. The Yankees didn’t think it was an appropriate subject for Major League Baseball to be dealing with.”
Of course, the Red Sox, whose owner John Henry also owns the Globe, did want to be part of it and the scene was filmed during a Red Sox-Rays game in September 2014.
McCarthy, who grew up a Yankees fan, said he doesn’t know who in the organization read the script, or what in particular they were worried about.
“I don’t think they gave the script proper consideration,” he said. “I know a lot of good Yankees fans who will enjoy this movie.”
But, McCarthy said, the team’s refusal to participate does speak to the theme of the movie.
“When big money and powerful interests get involved, it’s sometimes easier and better to ignore issues,” he said.
The movie, which opens Friday, already has screened at several colleges. Monday, Emerson showed it and afterward, assistant professor Susanne Althoff, formerly of the Globe, led a discussion with the current and former Globies featured in the film, including Walter Robinson, who’s played by Michael Keaton, Michael Rezendes, played by Ruffalo, Ben Bradlee Jr., played by Slattery, and Matt Carroll, played by d’Arcy James.
Next week, Brandeis is screening “Spotlight” and hosting a panel that will include former Globe editor Marty Baron, the film’s screenwriter Josh Singer, attorney Jon Albano, and former Globe columnist Eileen McNamara.
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