We are in New York, in a port bar next to the Brooklyn Bridge. Outside it rains water to seas and inside it rains the awards to Casey Affleck (Falmouth, Massachusetts, 1975). He has won the Golden Globe and the Oscar for best actor for Manchester by the sea. The time has come to remove once and for all that label that he has in front of the general public of “Ben’s brother” or even that of “Joaquin Phoenix’s doggie companion”, whom he directed in the mockumentary I’m still here (2010). In terms of quality, his career has endorsed him for a long time, but since his debut in All for a dream (Gus Van Sant, 1995) his films have always followed the path of the minority.
He is being assaulted by scandals from the past such as the one that the press has just reopened and which he believed to have closed through an out-of-court settlement: accusations of sexual harassment that two techniques from his film ‘I’m still here’
However, this process of being a popular actor is starting to blow up something he has worked on for a long time: protecting his privacy. Still in the run-up to his supposed stardom, he is being assaulted by scandals from the past such as the one that the press has just reopened and which he believed to have closed through an out-of-court settlement: the accusations of sexual harassment that two techniques in his film I’m still here filed against him in 2010.
Magdalena Gorka, director of photography, said Affleck had crawled into her bed while she slept and held her; and Amanda White, producer, assured that the actor had grabbed her hard after she rejected his advances. In this regard, the actor refers us to a statement sent by e-mail to ICON: “After the agreement, we can affirm that the conflicts were resolved in a satisfactory way for the parties involved and that the lawsuits were dismissed in 2010”, reads the text. Defense attorney for the two plaintiffs, Brian Procel, for his part declined to comment to this magazine.
Regardless of the sensitivity of the moment, Casey seems to go through all the fanfare of the Oscar pools with the absent-mindedness as armor, it is not known if by chance or reluctantly. He doesn’t quite like this about the photos: he looks like a sailor on land. He is not convinced by a raincoat proposed by a member of the ICON team, although he complains with a small mouth and agrees to put it on. He takes the camera and takes a photo of the stylist and, half seriously, half jokingly, says: “This is how you see what it feels like.”
Let’s say I’ve had a lot of experience with addictions in my life and I know what they are. That’s why I’m very careful “
Your character in Manchester by the sea drink a lot. Considering that your father was a rehabilitated alcoholic, what is his relationship to addictions? My mother was a teacher and my father a waiter. I have the feeling that my childhood was quite normal, although I don’t know what people’s lives are like. It’s true that I know what addiction is and what it means. But I don’t think this character is an alcoholic, just that from time to time he drinks and loses control.
I was referring to you, your real life. Let’s say I’ve had a lot of experience with addictions in my life and I know what they are. That is why I am very careful.
His brother Ben Affleck already has two Oscars. Do you feel, in any way, that you are following his shadow or that everything he achieves he did before? No, I don’t feel like I’m late for things. What I do feel sometimes is that I have a lot of ideas and I don’t do anything with them. I was thinking of making apps for phones. I have a lot of ideas, but sometimes I think it is better to focus on something, because if not, I start a lot of things and get nowhere. But I like to dream of new ideas. I think in another life I was an inventor. And my children [tiene dos, de 8 y 12 años, con la actriz Summer Phoenix -hermana de Joaquin Phoenix-, de la que se acaba de separar] they are a bit like that too. They invented a mixture of stapler and tape, what we might call a grapelo, which you push like a stapler, but it is adhesive. Although I think my little boy will be a professional footballer. On our trip to Spain we went to see soccer matches in Madrid and Barcelona. And right now he loves Cristiano Ronaldo more than me.
And what is your application for? I hope they don’t steal my idea [ríe], but I wanted to make an application to locate your dog, like a GPS. So if you lose it, you know where it is.
Family and animals, as the interview progresses, are clearly the topics Casey Affleck is most comfortable with. And so his career is reread. It is understood that he got his first big role, that of Goodbye little one goodbye (2007), because nobody wanted to be the protagonist of his brother Ben Affleck’s debut feature and he decided to do something on his part. You can understand that blue gaze that refuses to stop being youthful and insecure, a bit like a fish out of water, talking about his life with a stranger. “I am still young, I am 41 years old. But I think I am a good father. For me it is the most important thing. I’d drop everything else before jeopardizing my role as a parent. It cannot be compared with anything ”, he assures. And although he has recently separated from his wife, another film family sister (and very hippie), Summer Phoenix, the actor is proud of the friendship that still binds them.
How did last Christmas pass? Summer and I are no longer married, but we decided to have the party together. We are good friends, we all get along. My ex-wife, her sister, her family and my children. And my brother Ben, Jennifer, came too [Gardner, la exmujer de su hermano], their children and their parents.
Did it help that both you and Summer came from acting families? We just fell in love with who we were, but I guess it made it easy, that being in the same industry made things easier. She is a great actress.
And Joaquin Phoenix is his best friend. Have you already recovered from the experience of I’m still here And of everything that happened after it was released as a documentary when it was all fiction? Of course! We are still very friends. What happened to the movie was totally unexpected. We didn’t want to do anything to fool anyone, but people started drawing their own conclusions and everything got out of hand. We had made the film like this because we couldn’t pay extras and the cheapest way to do it was to shoot it as if it were a documentary, just for that.
They say he started acting because he was bad at baseball and because they offered him to do a play with 17 women, but he denies it. “I really like acting, I like the people who make up the actors’ guild, the directors, although everything that surrounds it doesn’t seem too funny to me. Let’s say I really like what I do at my job, but I don’t like the way to the office. It’s as if I wasted two hours a day in a car and spent the entire journey complaining. “
Affleck says, with his flowing hair and thick beard as pretty convincing arguments, that whatever happens he aspires to still have summers free to travel. To be able to be camping with his two sons, Atticus and Indiana, ages 8 and 12. With them he toured Spain last summer from camp to camp. “We had a hard time finding a campsite in Barcelona and we ended up in one that was very close to the airport. It was terrible. Planes kept passing by, ”he says. And it is not hard to believe. That is why he hopes that, despite the joys that he is giving him Manchester by the sea, do not burst your bubble of normality. “To this day, very few people recognize me on the street and that is how I like it. It doesn’t hurt my self-esteem. In fact, I don’t want it to change.
Taking into account that both his character in Manchester by the sea Since you come from the same region, in Massachusetts, do you recognize any of that emotional parsimony in yourself? There is a certain stoicism in this region, perhaps because of the geography. The kind of people I’ve grown up with seem to have a lot of stamina in life. I can identify with the character, yes. He bears a lot of wounds, pain, mourning, regret and he does not allow himself to express it. You want to keep it private because you feel that it is what you deserve. You don’t want to upset others, but you don’t want to stop feeling it either. He doesn’t want to cry or talk about it, because that would be breaking free. And it feels like a balloon filled with water, which if it interacts with others will end up exploding and splashing.
But you have put a lot of your personality into this character. It seems too tailored even though the role was originally intended for Matt Damon. I don’t think the movie would have been very different with him. Kenneth’s script [Lonnergan, director también de la película] It was like that. What I liked about him was the amount of things that are happening at the same time within each character. He explains the different way in which each one handles the duel, how memories are saved, both good and bad. The painful and the happy. People get by as they can: trapped in the past or focusing on the present.
The tortured characters are already a brand of the house. Does it have to do with your real personality? Do you believe? I am not a very tortured person, certainly not as much as Lee. This character required fragility, and while it was painful, it was a pleasure to do so. And about the image that I give to the public, I don’t know, the truth is that I don’t see all my films. I like to be on the sidelines of what people say. It is terrible to know what the public thinks of you, even when it is good. So I don’t know how people perceive me.
“I’m not that rich, I don’t have millions of dollars, so sometimes I have to understand work just as work. I shouldn’t have said that.”
How come you don’t watch your own movies? Sometimes is better. I can’t say which ones, of course. But although as far as possible I try to work only on what I really like, I cannot forget that I live from this, that this is my job. I’m not that rich, I don’t have millions of dollars, so sometimes I have to understand work just as work. I should not have said that. Of course, I live comfortably, but being an actor is my way of making a living and it is not always with the movies that I would like. For this reason, there are times when I prefer not to see the movie that I have made.
Now he is preparing a film of which he is an actor, director and screenwriter, Light of my life. Yes, and it is a big mistake to do all three [ríe]. I like challenges. Sometimes I tend to get into something that is hard for me, which is likely to mislead me, but which means following my instincts. In any case, it is always difficult to know what you have done when you are so into something.
This interview was published in the January issue of ICON and has been updated.
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The truth about the controversial Casey Affleck, winner of the Oscars 2017 | ICON