Brady, Affleck, President Obama among those contributing to E:60 Boston Marathon special

Tom Brady provides voice-overs for the Dream On special. (Ben Houser / ESPN)
Tom Brady provides voice-overs for the Dream On special. (Ben Houser / ESPN)
Tom Brady Lends His Voice

E:60 coordinating producer
Ben Houser shared these insights on NFL star Tom Brady providing voice-overs for the Dream On special.

• In February, we approached the Patriots with the idea of Tom Brady narrating four inspiring E:60 stories about the Boston Marathon. After reviewing several proposals with the Patriots, Brady agreed to be part of the special.

• On the day of the voice-over session, Brady was pleasant and coachable. He was interested in the content and asked questions about each E:60 story, spending considerable time reading every line with great detail. If he wasn’t happy with his cadence or tone, he read it again. This was clearly important to him, especially in telling the story of his former teammate, Joe Andruzzi.

• After several takes, it was clear he would be very good at narration. He has a natural voice for storytelling – using poignant pauses when necessary and understanding his words would guide the viewer.

• He encouraged us at the end of the session, relaying his support for the idea behind this special.

• Overall, it was a very good experience. Once Brady hangs up his cleats, Hollywood will be calling.

E:60 Presents Dream On: Stories of Boston’s Strongest, a special hour dedicated to the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, makes its primetime debut tonight (7 ET, ESPN).

The show, hosted by award-winning journalist Bob Woodruff of E:60 and ABC News, will present five stories of survivors, narrated by celebrity voices of Boston including Academy-award winner Ben Affleck and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The program also includes a special message from President Barack Obama.

E:60’s senior producer Heather Lombardo, who spearheaded the effort, provides some background on tonight’s special:

How did the idea of doing a Boston Marathon special come about?
The Boston Marathon is such an incredibly unique event that also happens to be just a couple hours away from ESPN’s campus. When the bombings happened, we started to follow closely the powerful stories stemming from that day. E:60 being a platform for long–form storytelling, it seemed like a natural fit for us to tell some of those stories. I also felt a strong personal connection having grown up about an hour outside Boston [in Warren, Mass.].

What was the most challenging aspect of putting a show like this together and what are you most proud of?
The most challenging part was narrowing the dozens and dozens of amazing stories down to the five that we felt would be the best mix for our show. Without question, I am most proud of the teamwork that went into this show. Virtually every member of our staff played a role in getting this show together.

What is the one thing you hope viewers will take away?
Viewers will be left with the message that the human spirit – the will to persevere – love – has prevailed for those impacted by that day. That sentiment of “Boston Strong” is front and center in every person in this show.

What was your favorite part about making the show?
While it was exciting to work with guys like Tom Brady and Ben Affleck who both narrated pieces in the show, my favorite part was following these stories of ordinary people who, in a split second, were set on an extraordinary journey of strength and perseverance.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In the video taken from the E:60 special, Kris Biagiotti and her special needs daughter, Kayla were just feet away from the finish line when two bombs exploded at the 2013 Boston Marathon. That day, lost among the chaos, mother and daughter made Boston Marathon history.

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