One of the ways Wahlberg and Berg wanted to show proper care and sensitivity to the story of the Boston Marathon bombing was to film in the places the events had actually taken place. That’s great for historical accuracy and everything, but the events we are talking about are people being exploded and shot. Those are not things the people in that area want to relive, even through a film set. So it should come as no surprise that when the neighbors in the exact neighborhood where a deadly shootout had occurred were informed a movie crew was going to fire blanks for several nights straight, they weren’t thrilled. The town manager finally had to shut it down, saying the recreation “wasn’t in the best interest” of the neighborhood.
The 9/11 films United 93 and World Trade Center have been even more controversial. United 93 came out less than five years after the event, meaning emotions were still raw for people who had lost loved ones on that day. The original trailer was so violent and got so many complaints that the AMC theater chain pulled it completely. Family members who saw the film admitted to being emotionally drained. Meanwhile, Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center paid two survivors $200,000 each to be advisors. Understandably, the widows of the men who died rescuing those two guys then accused them of cashing in on the tragedy. Other family members said they approached the production to help and were turned away, meaning the filmmakers weren’t interested in getting additional information that might have helped more accurately flesh out the story if that meant extra people in the line for the craft services table.
There are also times when filmmakers will blatantly make shit up to better suit their narrative. Not all family members of United 93 victims were “lucky” enough to have their loved ones merely exploited for box office money. One German widow had to watch Paul Greengrass cast an actor known for playing Nazis to portray her dead husband as a coward, because hey, every good story needs a villain.