J.K. Simmons on what it was like playing the man who took down Tamerlan Tsarnaev

“Jeff is one of those guys who reacted exactly the way you hope the police will react. He saved lives.”

In a new video from the makers of Patriots Day, actor J.K. Simmons discusses playing the role of Sgt. Jeffrey Pugliese, the Watertown police officer who subdued Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev moments before his brother Dzhokhar ran him over while fleeing the scene.

“Until you’re thrown into the middle of a fire, I don’t think you know how you’re gonna react,” Simmons says in the video. “And Jeff is one of those guys who reacted exactly the way you hope the police will react. He saved lives.”

The video shows Pugliese walking Patriots Day director Peter Berg through the specifics of the April 2013 shootout in Watertown, detailing how he flanked the Tsarnaev brothers and began firing on Tamerlan from a nearby driveway, at one point having to stop and reload.

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Aside from working to accurately depict every aspect of the Watertown shootout, Berg shot scenes with Simmons at Pugliese’s real-life home, even throwing in a scene making reference to a homemade pasta dish Pugliese makes using a blend of spices that sit in a glass jar in his kitchen.

The video concludes with Pugliese humbly diminishing his heroism.

“I don’t consider myself a hero,” Pugliese says. “We’re just a group of ordinary guys who were put in an extraordinary situation, and we just performed extraordinarily.”

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