Claire Folger/20th Century Studios
Growing up in Boston, writer and director Matt Ruskin has heard of the Boston Strangler most of his life. But it wasn’t until a few years ago, while researching the complex case, that he was inspired to write his latest film, boston strangler, from a different point of view.
“When I started reading about the case, I realized I didn’t know anything about it. And I found this really intricate and fascinating murder mystery. It had a much bigger story about both the city and the times with a lot of twists and turns that I found so compelling that I thought it would be a really good movie,” Ruskin told Deadline during an interview. recent interview. “I could never really get excited about doing a hard cop version of this story. There are a lot of aspects that criticize the police and so it just didn’t really work.
He continued: “And then I heard an interview with this reporter named Loretta McLaughlin who told the story of the Boston Strangler; she was one of the first journalists to connect the murders. During her reporting, she gave her name to the Boston Strangler. I love journalism stories and journalism movies and have tremendous respect for good journalism, which is more important than ever. So I thought that would be a really interesting way to revisit this story.
Ruskin dove deep into the story to find out more about McLaughlin and Cole, who would go on to be played in the film by Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon, respectively. He discovered “there was very little information about them available online”, but Cole’s obituary was the key to opening Pandora’s box.
“Jean Cole’s obituary mentioned that she had two daughters, and one of them had a Facebook profile with a picture showing her with her arm around an old friend of mine. So I called my friend Lana and I asked her how she knew this woman, she said that was her mother and Jean Cole was her grandmother.When I told her about my interest in the story, she introduced me to the families from Loretta and Jean who welcomed me with open arms and gave me access to everything from old photos and journals to old press clippings and gave me the unvarnished family history I was totally hooked at that time,” Ruskin revealed.
As a fan of true crime himself, it was important to Ruskin not to glamorize the Boston Strangler by choosing instead to focus on two heroines whose stories were mostly lost to history.
“I love true crime stories. I consider myself a fan but as a filmmaker I really didn’t want to make a movie that was gratuitous in any way,” he said. “It was really important to be respectful of these victims, and not to glorify violence or create gratuitous representations of violence. I’ve always been drawn to character-driven stories, so finding that human-centered element, that anchor is what I’m looking for. I was so inspired by Loretta’s work and her passion for what she did, that it felt like a really meaningful way to get into this otherwise very dark story.