Casey Affleck interview: ‘Our Friend,’ ‘The World to Come’
Casey Affleck is grieving on the big screen again, with supporting roles in two new dramas: “Our Friend” and “The World to Come.” The former features the actor as real-life journalist Matthew Teague, whose article about his wife’s unsuccessful struggle with cancer serves as the film’s source material. Affleck explains about Teague in his exclusive interview with Gold Derby (watch the video above), “He cares a lot about sharing — about being seen. He wrote the article because he wanted that experience to be seen. He wanted the movie to find a wider audience than the article and be seen.”
In the 1856-set “The World to Come,” Affleck plays a farmer named Dyer, who is in mourning over his daughter. That period piece hails from Affleck’s production company. He explains, “We were thinking, that instead of trying to think about what are people seeing/what typically do people like to see, just plough ahead with the stories that we liked. I liked ‘The World to Come’ and I had been developing it for seven/eight years and everyone said in 2014/2015, ‘You’ll never get that movie made. It’s too expensive, it’s just about two women falling in love and it’s period — it’s never going to happen. And we kept pushing ahead, thinking we can make it on an iPhone if we have to and then ultimately, we ended up not having to do that, but that’s the spirit of the company.”
“The World to Come” represents Affleck’s second producing credit. He qualifies about making “I’m Still Here” before founding Sea Change Media, “11 years ago, that wasn’t really an effort to make a production with any sense of actually being a boss or a producer or putting anything together.”
Affleck says about what he did differently, “This time around, I was more careful to align myself with who I was working with and find people that I liked and trusted and I respected and it turned out much, much better.” Affleck cites hiring up-and-coming director Mona Fastvold, partnering with executive producer Christine Vachon and co-starring with Katherine Waterston and Vanessa Kirby. He notes about his fellow producer Whitaker Lader, “It was Whitaker’s first movie; she got to be on a set. She did a great job.”
“Winning an Oscar in 2016 didn’t really change that much,” admits Affleck about his trophy for “Manchester by the Sea.” He elaborates, “It didn’t have much of an impact and as my friend Andrew Dominik likes to say, I snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, instead of getting spring-boarded into a long trajectory that goes high into the clouds of success.” Affleck adds, “The whole industry has been in a total turmoil of change, which ultimately will result in positive change that’s really, really good.”
“I stayed where I was at and I stayed doing smaller movies,” says Affleck with reference to “The World to Come,” a passion project for which he spent more money than he earned on it. Affleck champions the film’s screenplay above all, as it rivals the Oscar-winning one for “Manchester by the Sea” as the best that he has ever read. Adapted from Jim Shepard‘s short story of the same name by Ron Hansen and Shepard himself, Affleck urges members of the academy to read the script themselves before casting their ballots in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.