A pair of South Shore reporters are the focus of a true crime drama about the Boston Strangler, one of history’s most infamous serial killers. Written and directed by Matt Ruskin (“Crown Heights”), the movie will begin shooting in December in Boston and surrounding towns. Note: Madame Claude 2021 Streaming
Titled “Boston Strangler,” it will center on how the late Milton journalist Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley, “Pirates of the Caribbean”) and her fellow Boston Record American reporter, Scituate native Jean (Cole) Harris, challenged the sexism of the early 1960s in covering the story. They were the first reporters to connect the murders to one suspect now known as the Boston Strangler. Despite derision and ridicule from investigators, the two worked tirelessly to keep women informed. Note: Former ‘Seinfeld,’ ‘SNL’ star Siobhan Fallon Hogan to film new movie
Thirteen Boston-area women, ages 19 to 67, were sexually assaulted and killed between 1962 and 1964, crimes that terrorized the region and grabbed national headlines. All the victims were strangled with articles of their own clothing; one also was stabbed repeatedly. Note: Nobody 2021 Streaming
In 1967, Albert DeSalvo – who confessed to the crimes but was never charged – was convicted on unrelated armed robbery and sexual assault charges. He was sentenced to life, but was stabbed to death in 1973 at the state prison in Walpole.
Trailblazing women reporters from Milton and Scituate
McLaughlin, a longtime Braintree and Milton resident, died in 2018 at age 90. She was a recipient of the Abigail Adams Tribute award for 1995. The award, given by the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, honors outstanding Massachusetts women leaders who have made significant contributions to the political, economic and social rights for women. She had a long career in journalism, starting as a beat reporter covering Massachusetts politics for the State House News Service. She also covered the 1950s Brinks robbery and was a medical reporter for the Boston Herald. Note: Oxygène 2021 Streaming
McLaughlin retired from journalism as the Boston Globe’s editorial page editor. She wrote the Globe’s endorsements of William Weld for governor of Massachusetts, Bill Clinton for president of the United States and Thomas Menino for mayor of Boston. Note: actor who brought Tinseltown for a Ponzi scheme trip
Jean Cole Harris died in 2015 at age 89. She grew up in Scituate, one of six children of the town’s fire chief, Howard Cole, and his wife, Margaret. She began a long career in newspapers as a “copy boy” for the Boston Daily Record in 1944. From 1972 until her retirement in 1981, she wrote for the Boston Herald American. Much of her work involved investigative reporting, twice exposing deficiencies in the state’s nursing homes after going undercover as a nurse’s aide. She also helped chronicle the criminal elements operating in downtown Boston, coining the moniker, “the Combat Zone.” Note: Raya et le Dernier Dragon 2021 Streaming
Casting for the roles of Harris and DeSalvo has not been announced. 20th Century Studios is producing the film. A release date hasn’t been set.
Boston true crime craze
“Boston Strangler” is the latest in a series of film projects focusing on high-profile Boston crimes, including “Black Mass,” about notorious gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, “Patriots Day,” about the Boston Marathon bombings, and the Netflix documentary “This Is a Robbery,” about the Gardner museum heist.
The Boston Strangler has long been the subject of movies and books. Tony Curtis played DeSalvo in the 1968 movie that also featured Henry Fonda and George Kennedy. Marshfield author Casey Sherman, a nephew of victim Mary Sullivan, wrote “A Rose for Mary,” a 2003 book about the case. Sullivan, 19, had moved from Whitman to Boston just three days before she became the final victim. Note: Snake Eyes 2021 Streaming
‘Spirited,’ ‘Fletch,’ ‘Tender Bar’ and more locally shot movies
The movie also caps off a busy year of filming in the state and on the South Shore. The star-studded satire “Don’t Look Up” filmed last winter in Weymouth and Framingham and opens Dec. 10. It stars Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio. George Clooney’s coming-of-age drama “The Tender Bar” filmed in Braintree and hits theaters Dec. 22. The Christmas movie-musical “Spirited, which filmed scenes at the South Shore Plaza and stars Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell, is expected to wrap at the end of October. Jon Hamm (“Madmen”) was spotted filming scenes for “Confess, Fletch” at the Oaks Estate in Cohasset this summer. Other titles in production are the Halle Berry sci-fi film “Mothership” and the Emma Roberts rom-com “About Fate.” Scenes for “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” a Whitney Houston biopic starring Naomi Ackie (“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”), are being shot in Quincy and Boston. Production on the film will wrap in November. Note: Palmer 2021 Streaming
Keira Knightley to lead ‘Boston Strangler’
British Actress Keira Knightley is a two-time Oscar nominee for “The Imitation Game” and “Pride and Prejudice.” She next stars in the horror-comedy “Silent Night,” and voices the title character in the animated biopic “Charlotte.” “Boston Strangler” won’t be her first time portraying a trailblazing woman. She played a British whistleblower in “Official Secrets,” cryptoanalyst Joan Clarke in “The Imitation Game” and French author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette in “Colette.” Note: Sweet Girl 2021 Streaming