Update, 8:05 p.m.: “Spotlight” distributor Open Road has issued a statement in response to Jack Dunn, the Boston College High School board of trustees member who said the film did not accurately portray him and his meeting with Boston Globe staffers investigating pedophile priests. “The production believes in everyone’s right to speak their minds on the complicated legacy of this important story. Jack Dunn is no exception. However, we disagree with his characterization of the scene as misleading,” an Open Road spokesperson said. (Read Open Road’s complete statement below.)
“Spotlight” has received an overwhelming amount of critical praise for its depiction of the Boston Globe’s uncovering of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church — but one real-life figure in the scandal said the film induced him to vomit.
Jack Dunn, a longtime communications representative for Boston College who holds a board seat at Boston College High School, where multiple students were molested by cleric teachers, blasted the movie’s take on the news events.
He also objected to his depiction in Tom McCarthy’s film, where he is portrayed by actor Gary Galone.
“The things they have me saying in the movie, I never said,” Dunn said in a recent interview with the Boston Globe.
For Dunn, the most offending scene depicted a conversation he and Boston College High School President Bill Kemeza had at the request of then-Boston Globe editor Walter Robinson, to discuss the abuse allegations that took place at the institution.
In the script, Galone’s Dunn is confronted by Michael Keaton as Robinson, and Rachel McAdams portraying Globe reporter Sacha Pfeiffer. Dunn said he felt the dialogue in the scene minimized his actual concern for abuse victims.
“It’s a big school … and we’re talking about seven alleged victims over, what, eight years?” the movie version of Dunn said.
“The way they have me saying those things, like I didn’t care about the victims, that I tried to make the story go away,” Dunn told The Globe. “The dialogue assigned to me is completely fabricated and represents the opposite of who I am and what I did on behalf of victims. It makes me look callous and indifferent.”
In a statement to TheWrap, an Open Road spokesperson said the film is “based on extensive interviews and other research performed by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy. Based on that research, we believe it’s an accurate portrayal of the Boston Globe’s investigation of the Catholic Church.”
“The production believes in everyone’s right to speak their minds on the complicated legacy of this important story. Jack Dunn is no exception. However, we disagree with his characterization of the scene as misleading.”
The production company went on to say that both Robinson and Pfeiffer reviewed the footage in question and said the it reflected “the substance of what occurred during this initial interview at BC High.”
Furthermore, they believe the scene “portrays Mr. Dunn acting as any reasonably cautious representative of BC High would have during a first meeting, especially one who is a public relations professional, alumnus, and trustee.”
The film opened strongly in limited release on Nov. 8, netting $302,276 from five theaters for a $60,455 per-theater average, and has expanded consistently as awards comes closer and closer on the horizon.