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Shootout scene won’t be filmed in Watertown

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SWAT teams conducted a house-to-house search in Watertown the day after a shootout between police and the Tsarnaev brothers in April 2013.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

The reenactment of a deadly encounter between police and the Tsarnaev brothers as authorities closed in on the Boston Marathon bombers will not be filmed in Watertown after all, officials said Friday.

Film production representatives walked away from Watertown as a prime filming location after learning that the Town Council planned to deny their permit early next week, according to an official with CBS Films who requested anonymity.

Location managers for "Patriots Day," starring Mark Wahlberg, had approached the town and the residents of the Laurel Street area earlier this month, asking for their approval and cooperation in re-creating the shootout in 2013 between police officers and the Tsarnaevs. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in the confrontation and his brother, Dzhokhar, fled.


But because of the concerns of some residents, it was decided "upon further reflection" that filming "is not in the best interest of Watertown," according to a statement released Friday by Town Manager Michael Driscoll.

Neighborhood residents received a flier notifying them that filming would require simulated gunshots late at night, and the crew would begin filming in late April. Representatives noted in the flier that they would work "with each of you individually to compensate you for any intrusion onto your property."

Film production representatives then met with residents and local officials on Feb. 12 to discuss any concerns. The CBS Films official said that the majority of the people present were in favor of giving Watertown a starring role in the film.

"People at the meeting overwhelmingly responded that they wanted Watertown to play Watertown in the movie," the official said.

Following the meeting, filmmakers did neighborhood canvassing, talking to homeowners and residents about what their feelings were on the filming, and giving them a questionnaire to fill out, according to the CBS Films official. The representative added that such canvassing is standard procedure when scouting locations.


"They got back an 88 percent positive response regarding them filming the sequences in the neighborhood," the official said.

"Despite that, some folks in Watertown have expressed that they did not want the filming to take place in the neighborhood. So out of respect for those concerns filming will take place elsewhere and location scouting will continue," according to the company representative.

In an e-mail to film company location managers that was obtained by the Globe, Watertown District A Councilor Angeline Kounelis, who represents the neighborhood in question, noted the "subject matter may still be of a sensitive nature for the folks who lived through the experience."

She added on Friday, "Through community interaction, the residents of Watertown offered their input. The residents spoke and their voices were heard."

Location crews have also reached out to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in recent weeks about shooting some scenes for "Patriots Day" on campus, according to university spokesman John Hoey.

"It was a very preliminary inquiry," he said. "They called and wanted to look at the concept of coming down here, but they haven't gotten back to us yet."

Hoey said the filmmakers seemed interested in capturing campus scenery, rather than filming inside buildings and dormitories.

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a sophomore at the college, and had lived in the school's Pine Dale Hall at the time of the Marathon attack.

Hoey said students and faculty would be involved in a discussion about the proposal prior to any filming.


Filming was slated to begin in the next few weeks in and around Boston.

Steve Annear and Jaclyn Reiss of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Reenat Sinay can be reached at reenat.sinay@globe.com.