Hulu’s latest true crime flick Boston Strangler takes a unique perspective on the genre. Rather than frame the investigation of the notorious Boston murders of the ‘60s from the perspective of the detectives tracking the killer, the film focuses on how two journalists, Loretta McLaughlin and Jean Cole, played an instrumental role in the case. Despite the widespread knowledge of the crimes, most people are unfamiliar with the story of these two women – something director Matt Ruskin wanted to change.
“I grew up in Boston. I had always heard about the Boston Strangler, but I really didn’t know anything about the case,” Ruskin said during a press conference for the film. “When I discovered these reporters, Loretta McLaughlin and Jean Cole, I found out that they were one of the first reporters to connect the murders. They actually gave the Boston Strangler his name during the course of their reporting. I felt like that was a really compelling way to revisit this case.”
Star Keira Knightley, who plays Loretta, agreed the unique perspective drew her to the film.
“I just thought it was a really interesting way of telling the story of a serial killer, but through the point of view of these two female journalists,” said Knightley. “And the fact that you’ve kinda got a case where most people didn’t know that it was two women who broke the story, that they’ve largely been erased from the history of this case, I thought that was really interesting.”
Carrie Coon, who plays fellow journalist Jean, described the omission of Loretta and Jean from the history of the case as “shocking.” She appreciated Ruskin’s approach to filmmaking, and was eager to help bring the story of these women to life.
“That was the most shocking part of it for me, that these women were so integral to breaking the case and to forcing the police departments to share information. And their names are never mentioned in association with it,” said Coon. “Then, of course, I had seen Crown Heights, which Matt had made, and I think of him as a really, deeply moral filmmaker. And I knew that his interest in this story was feminist. That he was really interested in revealing that those women had been erased from the story.”
Coon also called Boston Strangler “a story about female allyship,” a sentiment echoed by her co-star.
“For me, this whole film is really a love song to female investigative journalists. And really highlights how important it is to have women in positions of power in storytelling, because it was these two women that really went, ‘This is an important story. This is information that needs to be in the public in order to keep women of Boston safe.’ I don’t know that their male colleagues would have seen the importance of it,” adds Knightley.
You can learn more about Loretta and Jean’s untold story in Boston Strangler, streaming March 17 on Hulu.