The Boston Strangler is one of the most well-known and well-documented serial killers of the 20th Century. Still writer/director Matt Ruskin felt there were aspects of the case left untold — namely the female journalists who uncovered the murders.
HipHollywood caught up with Ruskin about approaching the story from a different perspective with his new true-crime thriller Boston Strangler.
“I grew up in Boston, and I had heard about The Boston Strangler my whole life,” he said. “But when I started reading about the case a few years ago, I realized that I really knew nothing about the story. And what I discovered was this incredibly layered murder mystery with all these unexpected twists and turns, and then discovered these reporters, Loretta McLaughlin and Jean Cole, who were among the first reporters to connect the murders. They really broke the story of The Boston Strangler, and they gave The Boston Strangler his name during the course of their reporting. I felt like telling the story through their perspective would be a really compelling way to revisit this case.”
The film follows Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley), a reporter for the Record-American newspaper, who becomes the first journalist to connect the Boston Strangler murders. As the mysterious killer claims more and more victims, Loretta attempts to continue her investigation alongside colleague and confidante Jean Cole (Carrie Coon), yet the duo finds themselves stymied by the rampant sexism of the era.
“I love journalism films, and I really respect and admire good journalism, and they came up against a lot of obstacles in trying to do the work that was so important to them,” said Ruskin. “So for me, that was sort of the layer of it that was really a story worth telling. I don’t think I would have been passionate about a film about The Boston Strangler if it were not for these two journalists”
Alessandro Nivola, who plays Detective Conley says he too was excited about uncovering new layers of this story.
“More than the details of the case, I was interested in the particular experience of a Boston detective in the force at that time and what his kind of day to day life would be, what his behavior would be, how he would talk, what his relationship to a journalist might be.”
“True crime is a worldwide obsession,” he added. “Trying to kind of understand the psychology of people that are either driven to or have some compulsion to commit those kinds of acts of violence is just like, endlessly fascinating and terrifying, and it’s a curiosity that’s hard to ignore.”
The Boston Strangler is the name given to the murderer of 13 women in the Boston, Massachusetts, area during the early 1960s. The crimes were attributed to Albert DeSalvo based on his confession, details revealed in court during a separate case, and DNA evidence linking him to the final victim.
Boston Strangler will debut March 17, 2023, exclusively on Hulu.
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