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Crews preparing SouthField for Marathon bombing shoot

Actor Mark Wahlberg visiting the Eire Pub in Dorchester for lunch with director Peter Berg, middle, and a veteran Boston police detective, Dan Keeler, right, to talk about “Patriots Day,” a movie being filmed in Weymouth. Bill Brett/Globe Staff/File

Film crews are back at work at SouthField on the runway of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station, building a streetscape for a new movie about the Boston Marathon bombing.

“Patriots Day” stars Mark Wahlberg as a Boston police officer investigating the April 15, 2013, bombing, and is one of two films being made about the terrorist attack that killed three civilians and injured an estimated 264 others. A police officer was fatally shot by the attackers after the bombing, and 16 others were injured in a shootout during the manhunt.

Weymouth officials confirmed that the Wahlberg film is the one being made in the town.


CBS Films and Lionsgate had unsuccessfully sought permission to film in the Watertown neighborhood where bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured, after his older brother was killed. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where the younger Tsarnaev was a student, also declined a request to shoot scenes on campus, saying it would be “too disruptive.”

Weymouth officials, however, issued all the necessary permits for the filming to take place at SouthField, the 1,400-acre site being developed for housing and other uses, and collected thousands of dollars in fees, according to Jeffrey Richard, director of the town’s Department of Municipal Licenses and Inspections.

This is the second time Hollywood has ventured to SouthField to make a movie.

In 2015, Columbia Pictures used the runway to film chase scenes and built a replica of New York City’s Times Square inside an old hangar for the new “Ghostbusters” movie, which comes out in July 2016.

Kyle Corkum, managing partner of SouthField developer LStar Management, said he sent representatives to Hollywood in November 2015 to meet with major studios and promote SouthField as a movie-making venue, and had immediate positive response.

“The bottom line is we are being taken seriously by people who are making movies in Massachusetts,” he said.


Corkum said construction on a large set began on the runway in mid-February, and the filmmakers told him they plan to start shooting in April and wrap up by the end of May.

Boston Casting is holding an open audition on March 13 for extras for the film, as well as others to play police officers, firefighters, doctors, nurses, paramedics, SWAT team members, and marathon runners. The open call will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 129 Braintree St., Allston, and filming is expected to take place from March 29 to May 31.

“It’s great that filming at SouthField brings attention to the development and provides some economic benefit to the town,” said Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund, adding that “the real economic driver will come from the continued development of SouthField.”

Hedlund also noted that he is not planning to audition for an “extra” role.

“Patriots Day” is scheduled to be released in December 2016.

Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com