Like many Bostonians, Jeff Bauman took a place at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon so he could cheer on his girlfriend, Erin, as she reached the end. He was standing next to one of the terrorists before one of their bombs exploded, obliterating both his legs and starting him on a two-and-a-half year journey to recovery.
“It was a tough two-and-a-half years for me,” Bauman told me yesterday at Deadline’s Toronto studio. But the reaction to last night’s Roy Thomson Hall premiere of David Gordon Green’s film about Bauman’s story, Stronger, where the crowd gave Bauman a standing ovation as he arrived, speaks to how inspirational his journey has been. Bauman helped police identify and track down the terrorists, from his hospital bed. And a famous photograph of him being led from the scene by a man in a cowboy hat embodied the “Boston Strong” spirit that helped the city recover.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays Bauman in the film, which is “about the people who are survivors,” he said. “The people who became better human beings in the midst of this unfathomable event.” His is an extraordinary performance, as Pete Hammond raved, and he’s backed by support from Tatiana Maslany, beautifully affecting as Bauman’s girlfriend Erin, and Miranda Richardson, who steals scenes as his mom Patty. They joined Bauman, Green and Gyllenhaal to discuss the film in the video above.
“It was a really tough reaction for me to see it and relive it,” Bauman said. “To see these wonderful, great people, and how talented they are, it made me cry. It was so heartbreaking. It got me to a point where I couldn’t even do stuff for a week.”