Patriots Day’s Themo Melikidze Enters the Mind of a Terrorist

Themo Melikidze plays Tamerlan Tsarnaev in Peter Berg's film Patriots Day.

Today on The Scene my guest is Themo Melikidze, who plays Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev in Peter Berg’s film Patriots Day. Melikidze, an actor and accomplished martial artist, is in the midst of an exciting breakout moment for his career. He has appeared Off-Broadway, in addition to several other film credits, and he also has a recurring role in the upcoming TV show 24: Legacy. Patriots Day, which is currently in theaters, recounts the events of the Boston Marathon bombings from the perspectives of the victims and the police force as they pursue the brothers responsible for the attack. With a cast that includes Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman and J.K. Simmons, it is both a compelling drama and a worthy, carefully researched tribute to the real people depicted in the film. Melikidze, as the elder Tsarnaev brother and leader of their terror plot, functions as the film’s primary antagonist, and in this episode we discuss what it was like to prepare for a role as one of the most notorious terrorists in recent American history. He also talks about why we create films inspired by history and real events, and, as an immigrant, born in the country of Georgia and raised in Belgium, he reflects on the necessity for the US to be an inclusive, welcoming country of opportunity for the rest of the world.

Mark Wahlberg as the fictional Police Sargeant Tommy Saunders. (CBS Films)

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