In ‘Manchester by the Sea’, Casey Affleck stars as Lee, a janitor from Boston forced to return to his hometown to take care of his teenage nephew after his brother dies.
Ever since its sensational debut at Sundance, the film has been generated massive Oscar buzz.
Executive produced by Martin Scorsese and co-starring Michelle Williams as Lee’s estranged wife, the film was written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan.
“Well, the idea for the story came from Matt Damon and John Krasinsky, they brought me the idea for the story and asked if I would write the screenplay. I was very intrigued by it and I took the job and then eventually Matt wasn’t able to direct the film and John went off to do other things and so then I became the director as well,” explained Lonergan on the red carpet in Sundance, where Damon turned up to support the team.
Asked what she liked about Lonergon directing style, Williams answered: “The authenticity and the elevation – how he makes things seem so natural and ordinary and then he’s able to elevate them to this kind of almost – dare I say – spiritual experience.”
The role has propelled Casey Affleck in pole position for the Best Actor Oscar according to many critics – a critical success which has taken him by surprise.
“When I first saw this movie at Sundance, I was really surprised at how frequently people laughed,” he said. “And then, in between the laughs, you’d hear people sniffling. I love that.”
For young actor Lucas Hedges, who plays rebellious teenager Patrick, co-star Casey Affleck is true real role model: “I respect him so much and I respect all the decisions he’s made in his career. I think he’s a beautiful, brilliant model for how we can create meaningful careers and choose meaningful work.”
A successful playwright, Kenneth Lonergan has extensive experience in theatre and started his film career in 1999 with the screenplay for the gangland comedy ‘Analyze This’. He already collaborated with Martin Scorsese in 2000 when he directed his own screenplay for ‘You Can Count on Me’, which went on to win numerous awards.
‘Manchester by the Sea’ is on global release from now.