Q&A: Casey Affleck Explains Why He Loves Filming in Mass.
Harsh winter weather is nothing new for Casey Affleck, which is why the Massachusetts-born actor wasn’t afraid to brave the elements while shooting his latest big screen outing, The Finest Hours.
The drama, which was filmed in various locations around the Bay State, is based on the epic 1952 Coast Guard rescue mission of the SS Pendleton off the coast of Cape Cod. Affleck says he loved coming back to his home state for The Finest Hours and didn’t mind filming in less than stellar conditions.
“I love shooting there, I love going there,” Affleck says. “I miss the rain, and the cold, and the wind, and the snow, and everything else.”
Check out what else Affleck had to say about his new flick, if he’d ever don a cape and cowl like his brother Ben Affleck, as well as his thoughts on David Ortiz’s upcoming final season.
It looked like a pretty tough shoot. Was filming in the elements a challenge to you at all?
I know it sounds crazy, but I really enjoyed it… There’s a lot of time that’s spent when you’re an actor just sitting around waiting and at least you get to sit around thinking, “Am I going to get hypothermia?” It was a challenge over the course of the day. Also, I think the reality of the situation—people weren’t pretending to be cold or pretending to be miserable. They were cold and miserable. I think that was necessary for it to feel real in any way.
Since most people would be turned off by the prospects of shooting in the rain and the cold, where did you find the joy in the experience?
Part of the reason for doing it was [that] it was back home. I just love it. I love shooting there, I love going there. I miss the rain, and the cold, and the wind, and the snow, and everything else. I like going home, being with my friends and my family, and just generally being there. That was a great part of the whole experience for me. After, I got to do another movie, the same year, in Manchester by the Sea in the North Shore. It was a real treat for me. Also, I spent a lot of time as a teenager out on the Cape in the summers. To see Cape Cod too, it was kind of magical. It really pushed my nostalgia buttons. [The Finest Hours] did such a great job of bringing it to life.
In addition to coming back to town, what else drew you to this project?
Well, there wasn’t a whole lot that was known about the real guy I was playing, so it required some invention. Scott Silver, who’s also from Massachusetts, did a great job with the few things we knew about the guy. I think he wrote a script that was both intimate and also big, you know, a studio movie. That’s hard to do. That’s a tricky balancing act for a screenwriter and he did a great job.
Since you’re from the area, what did you think of Chris Pine and the rest of the cast’s Boston accents in the film?
Everybody has an opinion about what a Boston accent should sound like, but I hear a lot of different accents when I go home. So what I think was important was that they committed to it. You could hear the conviction. They were relaxed. They were comfortable in it and didn’t shy away from it.
Your character, Ray Sybert, is essentially one of the main heroes of the film. Do you prefer to play more grounded, real-life heroes or are you open to the idea of ever playing a superhero?
I like finding the heroism in the more relatable, everyday people. I also really love watching movies about superheroes and extraordinary characters. They’re great stories, especially when they focus on the characters within the superheroes and not just the effects and the action. I think they are our Greek gods. It’s our popular mythology. They’re fun stories that, when they’re done right, also are equally as interesting and moving as just your ordinary people.
I know you’re a big Sox fan and David Ortiz is retiring this season. What are your thoughts on Big Papi saying goodbye to Boston?
Oh man. Well, that happens. They don’t play forever. He is loved, that guy is something else. When I was a kid, I worked at Fenway Park, and I remember some of the characters. When they fit in with the team and with the city, I think the fans really get behind their players, so people got behind Big Papi in a big way. I remember that year of “Morgan Magic,” when I was doing concessions at Fenway, and Lee Smith and Roger Clemens, and that was a really fun season. But to have someone like Big Papi end his career with us, he’s one of our greatest players and had a great spirit. He’s an anchor for the team and I’m sorry to see him go.
‘The Finest Hours’ hits theaters on Friday, January 29.
This interview has been edited and condensed.