‘No’ To Wahlberg Movie is Missed Opportunity for UMass Dartmouth, Southcoast
History, especially tragic history, is a difficult subject to broach when it hits close to home. In the case of the Boston Marathon Bombing, no other event has hit so close to home in my lifetime. While 9/11 impacted us on a much larger scale, terrorism was in our backyard on April 15, 2013.
Mark Wahlberg is continuing his efforts to make a film based on the events carried out by the Tsarnaev brothers, and has now hit a couple of roadblocks. Last week, he was told he could not film the shootout between police and the terrorists in Watertown. And within the past few days, UMass Dartmouth has also denied a similar request.
While UMass Dartmouth's response to CBS Films was for the most part sound, measured, and respectful, I believe they're throwing away a huge opportunity for the wrong reasons.
First of all, what better way to showcase such an interesting campus than through a blockbuster film? UMD's architecture has been a long-running debate, with many split down the middle as to whether the buildings are ugly or gorgeous. It would certainly spark some national conversation. Enrollment at the school has been down, and a feature film may have some positive effect for the campus' attendance.
What better way to boost the Southcoast's profile than with a Hollywood film? If Wahlberg were allowed to shoot on campus, certainly he and his production crew would have taken notice of all of the amenities and aesthetics provided by this area. Downtown New Bedford, the backroads of Dartmouth and Westport, the quaintness of Fairhaven. All of them would have served as terrific backdrops, if not for this movie, than for another production down the line.
For those of you that say, "We shouldn't have to live through all of that again", I ask what exactly did you live through? The campus was evacuated, yes. But never was there an immediate threat to anybody's safety. It may have seemed harrowing at the time, but the danger was already over. It was not a traumatic experience for anybody on campus. Besides, we're three years removed from the initial events. Most of the students that were there to experience the incident are no longer students there.
And no, filming would not interrupt classes. CBS Films wants to start filming on the campus after classes have let out for the summer.
The bottom line is it's just a movie. It's recapturing a moment in America's history that shouldn't be forgotten. Put up with it for a few weeks and it's over. A little Hollywood could do us a lot of good.