“The Finest Hours”: Phone Interview with Casey Affleck and Chris Pine

In Disney’s latest live action release, the amazing true story of the sailors on the SS Pendleton comes to the big screen. 

With an all-star cast featuring Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, and Eric Bana, the incredible tale of a group of four surviving sailors fighting the treacherous season a small lifeboat after having their vessel split in two comes to life with stunning visuals and great performances. Director Craig Gillespie (“Million Dollar Arm,” “Fright Night”) helps keep the film grounded even with all the CGI and other effects.

Before the film was released, I had the chance to listen in on a conference call with lead actors Chris Pine and Casey Affleck. The interviewees and their publications are shown below:

Sonia (Boston University): My question actually revolves around this, the location. I know that you’ve done quite a few films in the New England/Boston area. What exactly is it that draws you back to your hometown and how did your familiarity with the area affect the filming process?

Casey Affleck: That’s a good question.  I guess I like coming back here just because I’m from here.  It’s nice to come home. I’m in California for the time being so I can work, that’s where the industry is.  But I’d much rather be here. Boston is also a great place to make movies cause they’ve been making movies here for a long time.  They’ve got really good crews.  There, uh, which is not always the case.  And you know, everyone’s professional and also when the Movie comes out and you run into the people who you made it with, from Boston, people in Boston don’t mind telling you if they hated it. So it’s nice to know, you know, where you stand.  And you don’t have to guess about whether or not they actually liked it or not.  That was a joke.

Alex (UC Santa Barbara): Yeah, we talked a lot about the ending of the film but I was wondering, living around there, growing up around there, had you heard the story at all before you approached film?

Casey Affleck: I hadn’t heard it before. I’m not totally sure that it’s true.  But they say it is, you know, and, I guess that’s enough to make a movie, you know. When I did a little research, I was skeptical.  I went to the Coast Guard Museum and turns out it all really happened.  It’s quite an amazing story.  It’s great when you can find films totally forgotten, um, story like this, that really, you could write a book about it. You could bring cheer to the story in a lot of ways. But these days, Movies are pretty great for, making a Spectacle, you know.  All the amazing things that they can do now in Movies.   They can really bring something like this to life, the scale of which would be hard to imagine if it weren’t a Movie.  No matter how much I heard about it or read about it, I was still really surprised, by how big the ship was and, you know, just like what that, to think how big those waves must have been to split a 500 foot Oil Tanker in half.  It’s the kind of thing you want to see someone make a Movie of so you can go watch it.

Morgan (John Carroll University): Chris, you play Bernard Weber who’s the main Character of this Film.  What elements did you bring to your Character to honor Weber’s legacy?

Chris Pine:  What I like about Bernie, at least from the script that I was given and, I didn’t know Bernie, and really had only a sense of who he was from talking to Andy Fitzgerald who was on the boat with him that night and Moe Gutthrew, who’s his best friend and there’s an Autobiographical Account that Bernie wrote about the night and then obviously, the book, “The Finest Hours.” Um, and a little audio clip of Bernie describing the events of that night.  So that was, those were kind of the things that I used to cull an idea of who the man might have been.  Um, but from the script that I was given, he was a simple guy that loved his job and loved the waters and — and, knew what he was doing out there but was obviously affected by, a tragedy that happened a year before and didn’t know if he was up for the task of going out that night.  But I — I do love the idea of a regular man up against seemingly insurmountable odds and more than anything, I kind of related to Bernie’s fear, you know. Bernie is a man that wears his heart on his sleeve.  And he’s he’s not like many of us that, you know, put on all this armor and try to be macho and tough.  He’s just, Bernie doesn’t, at least from the script that was given, doesn’t think that way.  He’s just kind of wears his heart on his sleeve, wants to do a good job, loves his wife, and uh, yeah. 

Neelou (Houston Community College): Did you learn or take away anything from the experience of playing your respective Characters?  If so, what was it?

Chris Pine: Well you know, what I liked about Bernie is that he’s a simple guy and I don’t mean that derogatorily, I love Bernie because he loves his job and he loves his woman and wants to do well at his job, and loves his woman well, and have a bunch of kids, and live happily ever afterwards.  She, he did for a long time.  Um, there’s an honesty and a truth to him. He’s just a good solid man and uh, who goes about business not seeking any sort of pat on the back.  It’s just because he wants to do right and he knows that’s the only way he can function really.  And I learned a lot from him.  I think about that, about, there is a purity in wanting to do your job well and to serve other people because, you don’t need much more than that. And oftentimes in our business, it’s all about, stuff that’s completely opposite from that which is, you know, um, getting your picture taken and uh, twittering and all that kind of — that I just think takes away from you know, those good old fashioned values. 

“The Finest Hours” is in theater now! Thank you to Coog Radio and Moroch for the chance to interview Chris and Casey!

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