Strangers tell 'Spotlight' star stories of abuse
By Carly Mallenbaum
March 01, 2016
|'Spotlight' actor Neal Huff, left, and Phil Saviano, the real man Huff plays onscreen, arrive at the Independent Spirit Awards.|
Photo by Nina Prommer
In Oscar-winning film Spotlight, Neal Huff plays Phil Saviano, a survivor of sex abuse. The real Saviano provided The Boston Globe's Spotlight team with key research to help publish their news-making 2002 church abuse investigation.
Now, years after the report, Saviano says it's "a little strange" that "I'm finally getting the recognition (for my work)," but the success of the Spotlight film is great, because ...
"More and more folks will hear the story and have the courage to speak out," he said on the red carpet at the Spirit Awards (where "Spotlight" won several categories, including best feature film).
Case in point: Huff, who got to know Saviano well in order to embody him in the movie, has had strangers stop him to share their personal stories of abuse.
"I was at the post office just a week ago, and the man (working there) recognized me, that I played Phil. He said, 'I saw 'Spotlight' twice. I'm a clergy abuse victim," recalled Huff.
It was a powerful moment for the actor.
"He just let me know, with a big smile on his face, that he felt that comfortable (telling me). He was completely up front about it and open."