Boston Strangler: Exclusive First Look At Keira Knightley And Carrie Coon As Journalists In The New Thriller

Boston Strangler main

by James White |
Published on

True crime tales have been the source material for a number of compelling films, including the likes of Zodiac and Dog Day Afternoon. Now here comes Boston Strangler, which will see Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon as crusading journalists looking to identify and help to curb the terror of the titular killer. We have an exclusive first look at the film…

The story follows Loretta McLaughlin (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 (Coon), yet the duo finds themselves stymied by the rampant sexism of the era. Nevertheless, McLaughlin and Cole bravely pursue the story at great personal risk, putting their own lives on the line in their quest to uncover the truth...

Crown Heights writer/director Matt Ruskin, who has a history in documentaries and true crime tales – and grew up in Boston – was already interested in the story.

"Having grown up in Boston, I had always heard of the Strangler in a very abstract sense, but I didn’t really know anything about the details of the case and a few years ago, I started reading about it and discovered a really fascinating, layered serial killer story," he says. "I always loved journalism stories and in researching the case, I discovered these two journalists, starting with Loretta McLaughlin, the first journalist to connect the murders, and in her reporting, she actually gave the Boston Strangler his name. It was a really monumental story for her in her career in the early 1960s. She was a very ambitious reporter in a male-dominated field and this was a real turning point for her."

In digging into the journalism side of the Strangler story, he lucked into a personal connection. "In reading about Loretta and her partner Jean Cole, the other reporter she worked with, I discovered that Jean Cole’s granddaughter is an old friend of mine," Ruskin reveals. "I called her up and said, ‘is the Jean Cole your grandmother?’ She said yes, and that she had adored her and so she introduced me to both Loretta and Jean’s families, and they welcomed me with open arms, they gave me access to old photos, clippings and really shared the histories with me. So at that point, I was really hooked and devoted to telling their stories."

Boston Strangler

With Knightley and Coon on board as his ideal leads, Ruskin also bolstered the cast with the likes of Alessandro Nivola, David Dastmalchian, Morgan Spector, Bill Camp and Chris Cooper. Yet even with a high calibre cast, there were practical challenges bringing 1960s Boston to life.

"A lot of old Boston doesn’t exist any more," he explains. "There are certainly old neighbourhoods with old buildings, but it’s very difficult to shoot a period film these days, particularly in Boston where so much has changed. There’s always some element that’s not right for the period. We shot in the winter and some of those cars just don’t start in the middle of January! But we had a wonderful group of people and I’m proud that we shot the film in Boston, very close to a lot of the real locations, it was an incredible opportunity to be able to recreate that period."

Boston Strangler will launch on Hulu in the US and Disney+ in the UK on 17 March.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us