"Spotlight" Turned on Bridgewater State
Wicked Local Bridgewater
April 5, 2016
A former Boston Globe reporter portrayed in the movie “Spotlight” stood in front of Bridgewater State University students on Tuesday and exposed the truth about the Academy Award-winning film: It was pretty darn accurate.
Matt Carroll, the data analyst portrayed by Brian d’Arcy James in “Spotlight,” came to campus to talk about the film and his more recent work as a research scientist at MIT’s Media Lab.
And as a journalist committed to seeking truth, Carroll commended the filmmakers’ sensitivity to telling a true story.
“The look and feel of everything was authentic — for the most part, it was incredibly accurate,” said Carroll. “All in all, it’s been a wonderful ride.’
“Spotlight” chronicles the Globe’s coverage of the cover-up of sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests in the Boston area.
Carroll — along with Walter Robinson, Sacha Pfeiffer and Michael Rezendes — led a team that wrote more than 600 stories from beginning in early 2002.
In a particularly poignant scene, Michael Keaton — playing Robinson — tells d’Arcy James that the story can’t be rushed just because a Catholic priest lives near the Carroll family, and that no one in the neighborhood can know before the story is printed.
In truth, Carroll said Tuesday, his wife went behind his back and told the neighbors to stay away, anyway.
Carroll also talked about watching someone play him on screen, what it was like to become friendly with Hollywood star Mark Ruffalo and shared stories from the Oscars ceremony.
“We were sitting in the second to last row, needing oxygen masks and looking at the ants on the stage,” said Carroll. “When we won, we jumped up like 8-year-olds winning the Little League World Series.”
Discussing MIT's “The Future of News Initiative,” Carroll also showed off a couple of his students’ latest innovations at MIT. One is a Google Chrome extension that brings aesthetically pleasing news directly to an internet user, while another is a context platform utilizing a layout which provides background on just about any topics.
But inevitably, the talk kept swinging back to the investigation that landed the Globe a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 — and the 2015 film that earned the cast and crew the Oscar for Best Picture earlier this year.
“The Pulitzer was a big deal for the weekend,” Carroll said. “The movie was a big deal for six months.”