Casey, as the veteran returning home from Iraq, you gave a very raw and real performance. Did you do any special preparation for this role?
Casey Affleck: Well not anything special, but I did some preparation. That preparation starts just with reading the script over and over and just trying to absorb it, and then talking to Scott a lot about where he’s coming from because it’s not really a part of the movie. It doesn’t delve into it too much, which is good.
I also watched some documentaries and talked to some veterans and just tried to piece together as much as I could about what that experience might be like for somebody. For a lot of these guys now, these wars have had them doing more tours than in any other wars because they’re careerists. They spent a lot of time over there with this constant level of anxiety, and understanding what those symptoms are when they come back, there’s some post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, frustration, alienation and feeling like people don’t want to hear what their experiences were like and how lonely that can feel.
Casey and Christian, your scenes together are amazing. You seem to have a real family relationship between you two. Did you know each other or do anything before the movie began filming?
Christian Bale: It just happened. Scott and I had been saying that we wanted Casey for the role, and there was a lot of conversations about it and Scott and I just kept saying that over and over, eventually we were saying that we were not doing it without Casey. I didn’t actually meet Casey until we did that little camera test in Pittsburgh just a couple of days before we started. All of the prison stuff was done in two days, right?
Scott Cooper: The very first two days.
Christian Bale: Right, the very first two days of filming we did all that prison sequence stuff, so we were just kind of thrown into the deep end which was nice. That was it, it just happened. Casey’s a fucking great actor and he was wonderful to work off of, and it just came through.
What about you Casey?
Casey Affleck: Umm, we spent weeks and weeks together (laughs).
Christian Bale: Sorry mate, I forgot about that (laughs).
Casey Affleck: No, it was like he said. It’s awkward to say because he’s sitting right there, but I think that he just makes everyone better around him. If someone’s in a scene with you and they are listening to what you say and looking at you that way, then you’re having a real conversation and the whole thing feels a little bit more real in some way. I would have to attribute whatever apparent chemistry there is or relationship there is to that. Those first couple of days in the prison, those were hard for me. It’s always hard to get right into something. I’m usually terrible the first week, and so on the very first day or two we’re doing the scenes and Christian was very patient. I did and said some things that just immediately made me trust him, and it just sort of went smoothly from there.
Scoot Cooper: Yeah. What you see between these two actors isn’t something that you can learn in the Lee Strasburg Institute or at Stella Adler, and that is these two actors doing a great deal of investigative text work before. But they are also incredibly talented, simply put, and that’s not the type of thing that you as a director can really manufacture.
Regarding the physicality in the movie, everything here is very real and therefore a lot scarier. Is there an added level of trust that has to be there between you so that you know you can be as scary as you need to be but still feel safe?
Woody Harrelson: We were just talking about that because I was saying that working with Casey is kind of like working with a wild animal. Is he going to bite you? Is he going to want you to pet him? It was a really great experience. With Christian, there’s a level of confidence in the actor you’re working with that really helps a lot. It makes all the difference. He’s one of the greatest actors who ever lived.
Christian Bale: Well, you know, I respect Woody greatly, but he’s desperately wrong with what he just said (laughs).
That concludes our interview but we’d like to thank everyone for their time. Be sure to catch Out of the Furnace when it hits theatres this Friday and for more coverage on the film, watch the video below.