Globe reporters tell their ‘Spotlight’ stories

November 30, 2014 - accent chair

For months in late 2001, a Globe’s Spotlight Team chipped divided in tip during a story that during initial seemed unthinkable — that a period of cardinals and bishops in a Boston Catholic Archdiocese had for decades lonesome adult a passionate abuse of large children by priests. In many cases, Church leaders took no movement to repudiate their Roman-collared child molesters entrance to children.

When a Globe began documenting a endless abuse and a cover in Jan 2002, a story exploded, initial in Boston, afterwards nationally and in countries around a world. In a Boston Archdiocese alone, an estimated 200 priests abused children. Nationally, it is during slightest 7,000 priests. The sharpening disclosures continue, and have jarred a unequivocally substructure of a Church.

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In September, executive Tom McCarthy (“The Station Agent,” “Win Win”) and a expel of Hollywood names including Liev Schreiber, Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Stanley Tucci began sharpened a film patrician “Spotlight,’’ about a Globe’s investigation. The filmmakers used locations in Boston and in Toronto, where they re-created a Globe newsroom and a Spotlight Team’s offices. With camerawork approaching to hang in a Bay State on Sunday, a film is scheduled for recover late subsequent year.

For 3 members of that Spotlight Team — reporters Sacha Pfeiffer and Michael Rezendes and editor Walter V. Robinson — a film is a consistent sign of a bravery of a many victims of passionate abuse whose eagerness to tell their stories in 2001 finished a Globe’s inquisitive stories possible.

And a film is also something else for those 3 journalists: It’s surreal. The “Spotlight” stars have all nonetheless insincere a identities of a characters they play, in ways a genuine reporters have found both humorous and, during times, a little unsettling.

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They share their practice in Boston and Toronto.

Read Walter V. Robinson’s essay

Read to Michael Rezendes’s essay

Read to Sacha Pfeiffer’s essay

‘To watch Michael [Keaton] turn me on film creates me wish to apologize to many people I’ve interviewed’

By Walter V. Robinson | Globe Staff

Spotlight Film, LLC

Michael Keaton (left) and Walter V. Robinson.

It was a informed after-dinner parlor game, maybe dual decades ago: Who’d play us in a movie, we were asked. Lee Marvin would be me, we was told. Maybe James Coburn. Really, we thought. Why not Abe Vigoda? Fast brazen to 2014: At slightest Abe is still alive.

So there we am, final month in Toronto, in a near-perfect reproduction of my 2001 Globe Spotlight Team office. Michael Keaton is sitting during a duplicate of my desk, a two-fingered typist, customarily like me, his lips pursed, peering by reading eyeglasses during a selected 2001 Globe mechanism screen.

Beside him on a desk? A framed print of my real-life daughter, Jessica, taken in 2000. And beside that a framed print of Michael — as me — with his arm around singer Elena Wohl, who plays my wife, Barbara.

When art imitates life, Michael is a Vermeer among actors. He sounds eerily like me. He has expropriated my Boston accent, a one that comes and goes — whenevah. “Spotlight” executive Tom McCarthy shouts, “Action,’’ and his voice dips an octave to compare my base. My facial expressions, palm gestures, trenchant look, arched eyebrow? They’re all his now. The approach we infrequently — nonetheless not often, unequivocally — ask questions while obscure my voice rather than lifting it? That’s now as most his modus operandi as mine.

My persona has been hijacked. If Michael Keaton attacked a bank, a military would quick have me in handcuffs.

To watch Michael turn me on film creates me wish to apologize to many people I’ve interviewed: we never meant to dismay them into divulging anything, really. In one scene, Michael was even curtly dismissive of Rachel McAdams, who’s portraying my Spotlight colleague, Sacha Pfeiffer. Immediately, a genuine me texted a genuine Sacha to apologize.

I initial met my doppelgänger customarily after Labor Day in a bar during a Greenwich Hotel in New York. We shook hands. He gave me that gimlet-eyed, sarcastic demeanour I’d suspicion was cave alone. Before I’d spoken so most as a full sentence, he furrowed his brow, gave me a curved grin — my grin — and said, “You know, we unequivocally don’t have that most of a Boston accent.”

It was not a question. But how could he have known? He’d been tracking me, that’s how. He’d gotten reason of video and audio of past appearances I’d finished on radio news shows, C-Span and NPR. He’d been study me. we was busted.

During a prolonged cooking that night, he was a reporter, we a subject. we chewed. He watched. we sipped. He peered. And he’s good during his new craft: Over several meetings since, Michael has extracted most too most information from me. Between scenes, he’s asked lots of questions: How would we have approached this theme or questioned another character? How thoughtful was we to comparison editors? (Not scarcely enough.)

Initially, we was skeptical. First off, Michael looks a bit like my father, not me. Second, here is Hollywood creation a film about Boston, and a initial emanate he lifted is my accent. we knew where this was going. On a large screen, we was going to sound like a cranky between JFK and Tom Menino.

Wrong. The cast’s initial get-together was a subsequent day, after that we perceived a phone call. Michael, conspicuous my arguable eyewitness, “did a ideal impersonation of your voice.”

When it comes to newspapering, this is not Michael’s initial rodeo. People substantially know him best for “Batman,” “Beetlejuice,” “Mr. Mom,” and now “Birdman.” My possess fave is “The Paper,” in that he played a journal metro editor, in a pitch-perfect opening that genuine metro editors — including me during a time — raved about. What’s more, he’s a journal addict who complicated broadcasting in college.

This is different: He’s personification me, not a illusory metro editor. It’s fascinating, of course, nonetheless also a bit bizarre. It’s like examination yourself in a mirror, nonetheless carrying no control of a counterpart image.

This could go to my head. But on location, there’s copiousness to move me behind to Earth.

On a set, there are reminders, nonetheless infrequently confusing, about who’s who: When someone calls out “Robby,” my nickname, they meant Michael. And there is one of those lifted director’s chairs, with a name “Robby Robinson” on it. That’s for him to lay in.

My chair on a set? It says, “Guest.”

‘Watching Mark [Ruffalo] re-enact 5 months of my life was like looking into a funhouse mirror’

By Michael Rezendes | Globe Staff

Spotlight Film, LLC

Mark Ruffalo (left) and Michael Rezendes.

When we found out Mark Ruffalo was going to play me in a film formed on a Globe Spotlight Team, we immediately flashed on a crazy coverlet of characters he has played: a spooky investigator in “Zodiac,” a aw-shucks ladies’ male in “The Kids Are All Right,” and a washed-up record writer in “Begin Again,” to name customarily a few.

So how was Mark going to play me circa 2001, when we was one of a reporters questioning a cover of preaching passionate abuse in a Boston Archdiocese? Pretty most accurately as we am — or was — it turns out.

At first, examination Mark re-enact 5 months of my life was like looking into a funhouse mirror, as we slipped into a summer dusk during Fenway Park some-more than a dozen years ago. There he was – or we was – with my short-cropped hair, blue button-down shirt, and black leather jacket, accurately as we would have seemed during a Red Sox diversion after work.

But it was some-more than a wardrobe. After a fifth or sixth take of Mark holding guff from an comparison contributor and an editor, Mark introduced an odd, closed-mouth grin that we didn’t even know we used nonetheless that former Spotlight contributor Sacha Pfeiffer insisted was eerily accurate.

“Oh my God,” Sacha said, grabbing my arm, as we watched a stage reveal one some-more time. “He’s got your laugh.”

Weeks after in Toronto, where a film makers had commandeered an aged Sears building and rebuilt a Globe newsroom, it was unequivocally most a same. There was Mark during his table in a relief Spotlight digs, spinning his chair around to scream into former Spotlight editor Walter V. Robinson’s bureau for a little banter, accurately as we had finished probably on a daily basis. It was, for me, like being rocketed behind in time.

But we should not have been surprised. When we met Mark for a initial time during my home in Winthrop he quick incited a tables, holding on my prevalent reporter’s purpose by defeat out a cover and regulating his iPhone to record what incited out to be some-more of an speak than a conversation.

Mark is as accessible and enchanting as he mostly appears in his films nonetheless he’s also greatly clinging to his work. In this case, that friendship meant barbecuing me for hours about a sum and outs of stating while perplexing to understand, as totally as possible, since we sojourn so dedicated to inquisitive reporting.

The subsequent day we met with Mark during a Globe, this time watching him as he celebrated me, another gymnasium of mirrors experience.

For starters, Mark shot video of me as we walked to my table and staid in for a day of written combat. Then he sat with me and listened in as we worked a phone, perplexing to awaken information from sources.

Mark also had a possibility to speak my colleagues and came adult with a choice version about how I’d recently lifted my voice — branch adult a volume some-more than a nick or two, it seems — while perplexing to get to a law out of a suburban mayor who had totaled a city-owned automobile after an eventuality where he’d been seen drinking.

“Can we listen to we scream during someone?” contributor Mark Ruffalo inquired. It was a customarily time we kindly declined to assistance him out.

It wasn’t always pleasing to be rocketed behind in time. For all of us who were on a Spotlight Team behind in 2001, questioning preaching passionate abuse was a heart-breaking knowledge — and some-more tough work than any of us could have imagined.

Each of us spent weeks interviewing victims, and we had listened some-more than a few stories we had attempted to forget. And nonetheless there was Mark, bringing it all behind home.

Mark’s investigate never seemed to stop. Whenever we was on set, it was not common for him to find me out to discuss about a stage or ask me to repeat a line, or even customarily a word or two.

During a mangle on that funhouse counterpart dusk during Fenway, Mark approached me for what we suspicion was going to be a accessible black-slapping moment. Instead, he leaned in tighten with an obligatory request: “Hey, contend this line for me.”

‘Rachel [McAdams] has asked me how prolonged we kept my fingernails. What distance Post-it Notes we preferred.’

By Sacha Pfeiffer | Globe Staff

Spotlight Film, LLC

Rachel McAdams (left) and Sacha Pfeiffer.

During cooking during a downtown Boston restaurant, on an dusk that was already feeling surreal — Rachel McAdams by my side, charity tastes of her branzino, Mark Ruffalo opposite from me, revelation rip-roaring stories about his bartending days — Rachel leaned over and gestured to my right hand.

“You’re wearing a ring we didn’t mention,” she whispered, with a shade of surprise. we followed her peek to a little bullion rope on my pinky finger, a long-ago present from a dear friend. Rachel was right: Weeks earlier, when she’d asked me what valuables we wore in 2001, I’d lost about that little ring. And since she is perplexing to look, act, and even consider like we did 13 years ago to play me in a nearing “Spotlight” movie, a repudiation held her eye.

In this scrutiny-by-movie-star, no fact is too minute.

Rachel has asked me how prolonged we kept my fingernails. What distance Post-it Notes we preferred. Whether we bought lunch during a Globe cafeteria or brought food from home. Did my father and we ever prepare together? (Yup, he’s a impression in a movie, too.) What endearments did we use? Was there ever a time, while essay about priests who molested children, when we pennyless down?

I’ve gotten used to texts from her nearing out of a blue: “Hey Sacha, pointless question: Do we remember what kind of boots we wore around a office? (I know we had your trainers for your walks?) Did they customarily have a heel or flat?”

My answers have finished a dialogue, props, and costumes for a Hollywood film with an A-list cast. When we told Rachel that my late South Boston grandmother, who’s also a impression in a film, was called “Nana,” not “Gran,” a writers altered a script. On set in Toronto, when we forked out that my phone had been to a left of my computer, a organisation redesigned my onscreen desk.

Our initial hit was by e-mail. Its theme line — “from Rachel” — indispensable no final name. We set a date to speak by phone; that review lasted an hour and a half. Then we organised to meet. She took a sight to South Station, and as travelers came streaming off a height we disturbed we wouldn’t be means to collect her out of a crowd. Suddenly, a rare realization: she had asked for photos of me from 2001 so she could have her hair cut and colored like mine. we shouldn’t be looking for Rachel McAdams; we should be looking for a reproduction of myself.

By a time we met face-to-face, she had listened to taped conversations I’d had with executive Tom McCarthy and screenwriter Josh Singer, watched videos of open appearances I’ve made, even tracked down interviews I’ve finished some-more recently as a radio host. we speak quick — a crony once conspicuous we “speak like a appurtenance gun” — and Rachel told me she’d been operative to impersonate my quick pace. Eventually, though, it was motionless that if she spoke on shade like we do in genuine life, she’d be too quick for a assembly to understand!

She did, however, get to use my tangible car: a 1995 Honda Civic. Its cameo in a film came with a giveaway paint job, withdrawal me with a 19-year-old diva that gleams like it customarily rolled off a dealer’s lot.

Why constraint a sum from a decade ago so precisely? Here’s how Rachel explains it: When actors play illusory characters, “we’re customarily creation it adult as we go along,” nonetheless when they execute genuine people — and “you’re my first,” she conspicuous — “it’s good to have a plain foundation” to emanate an accurate “inner life.”

“I totally consider you’re authorised to take liberties,” she added, nonetheless “when we have a law in front of me, we feel a shortcoming to get we right and to find your essence.”

You might be wondering if being channeled by a luminary is going to my head. I’ll simply note that when a British journal performed photos of Rachel filming a stage in that she nailed my demeanour — lax untucked shirt, unsentimental black shoes, even a healthy call in my hair — it eviscerated her coming as customarily a London publication can. “Rachel McAdams Dresses Down For Role As Investigative Journalist,” a story crowed, citing her “messy tresses,” “clunky” loafers, and “baggy clothes.” Dressed as we did in my late 20s, a singer was conspicuous “hardly her red-carpet-ready self.”

Welcome to Hollywood. Flak coupler recommended.

More coverage:

‘Spotlight’ films during The Boston Globe

‘Spotlight’ filming during Fenway Park

‘Spotlight’ book tells a story of Globe series

Mark Ruffalo talks adult Boston Globe film during Nantucket Film Fest

Section: Clergy sex abuse crisis

Walter V. Robinson can be reached during Michael Rezendes can be reached during Sacha Pfeiffer can be reached during

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