Why Keira Knightley and Carrie Coon ‘can’t watch’ true crime anymore
The actresses also tell EW why they decided to star in Hulu’s true-crime thriller regardless of the genre.
“Since having children, completely can’t watch it,” Knightley tells EW. “Totally terrified.”
Her costar Coon also cites motherhood for her falling out with true crime. “I have to say, having children has complicated my relationship to it,” she says. “But I listened to [the podcast] My Favorite Murder for a long time, [read] In Cold Blood by Truman Capote — I did love a good true crime.”
Boston Strangler — The film follows Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley), a reporter for the Record-American newspaper, who becomes the first journalist to connect the Boston Strangler murders. As the mysterious killer claims more and more victims, Loretta attempts to continue her investigation alongside colleague and confidante Jean Cole (Carrie Coon), yet the duo finds themselves stymied by the rampant sexism of the era. Nevertheless, McLaughlin and Cole bravely pursue the story at great personal risk, putting their own lives on the line in their quest to uncover the truth. Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley), shown. (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.)
Keira Knightley in ‘Boston Strangler’
| Credit: HULU
Regardless of their current watching habits, both actresses star in Hulu’s true-crime thriller Boston Strangler about the real-life trailblazing reporters who cracked the case of the notorious murders in the ’60s. Knightley plays Loretta McLaughlin, a journalist for the Record-American newspaper, who was the first to connect the Boston Strangler murders. As the killer claimed more victims, Loretta continued her investigation alongside her colleague and confidante, Jean Cole (Coon). Despite being stymied by the era’s rampant sexism, the women bravely pursued the story, putting their lives on the line to uncover the truth.
“For me, it was the opportunity to highlight two amazing female investigative journalists,” Knightley says of why she took the role. “This is a really famous story, and these two women have been largely erased from the history of this case — even people in Boston largely don’t know who they were and don’t know the part that they played in exposing this case and even the naming of the Boston Strangler. Their part in this whole investigation has been totally taken out, but their tenacity, their doggedness in trying to get justice for the women, is very inspiring. It also shows how important it is to have women in places of power because this was a story that had been largely ignored by the male establishment. It took two women to recognize what was going on and to highlight its importance.”
Boston Strangler — The film follows Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley), a reporter for the Record-American newspaper, who becomes the first journalist to connect the Boston Strangler murders. As the mysterious killer claims more and more victims, Loretta attempts to continue her investigation alongside colleague and confidante Jean Cole (Carrie Coon), yet the duo finds themselves stymied by the rampant sexism of the era. Nevertheless, McLaughlin and Cole bravely pursue the story at great personal risk, putting their own lives on the line in their quest to uncover the truth. Jean Cole (Carrie Coon), shown. (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2023 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.)
Carrie Coon in ‘Boston Strangler’
| Credit: HULU
The film is written and directed by Matt Ruskin, whom Coon praises for not sensationalizing the violence despite the gruesome subject matter. “I really respect Matt for avoiding that angle — he really went out of his way to make sure that the crimes happen offscreen,” Coon says. “He wasn’t in the game of delivering gratuitous violence to his audience; he really wanted them to see that the focus of the story was about the way these women were warning the women of Boston when nobody else was. We didn’t even have the term serial killer for 10 more years, and Loretta was doing psychological profiling at a time when it was a very unusual and progressive approach to a case. It’s just really gratifying for their families to see that their story and their involvement in this case is finally being told.”
Knightley adds, “It’s an incredible privilege to highlight the legacy of these two extraordinary women. It’s really important to see women struggle and see women not necessarily always succeed and yet still try. It’s the resilience that I found unbelievably inspiring. You can’t get everything right, but you can try your best to move forward in this world. That’s what they did.”
Coon is excited for audiences to see how the two women worked together to catch the killer. “They were supporting each other in an environment where, under some circumstances, a newsroom might say, ‘We already have a woman; we don’t need another one,'” Coon says. “Here were two women working closely on a case and continuing to support each other throughout their careers. So often in storytelling, women are pitted against each other. So often in our careers, we’re pitted against each other. The more we can lean into that allyship, the more rapidly things will change. We’ve got a long way to go, so it’s a good start.”
Boston Strangler debuts Friday, March 17 on Hulu.
I have been writing professionally for over 20 years and have a deep understanding of the psychological and emotional elements that affect people. I’m an experienced ghostwriter and editor, as well as an award-winning author of five novels.