In February 1952, Bernie Webber assembled a crew to head out to sea in the midst of catastrophic storm in the hopes of saving a group of men that were stranded on a ship-wrecked tanker. The mission was considered to be the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history, so naturally, recreating the heroic endeavor on screen was a far from easy feat. It involved Chris Pine, who portrayed Webber, and his fellow seaman, Ben Foster (who plays Richard Livesey) being continuously pelted in the face with ice-cold water, taking on tumultuous waves, and fighting hypothermia. It was such an intense experience that it stuck with the actors for months after filming.
Foster jokes that it’s been a year since the shoot and he’s still thawing out. “My nipples could cut glass right now,” he tells Screen Rant. It also took The Finest Hours stars several months post production to shake off the physical sensation that they were still on a rocky boat. “You get back to your hotel or your apartment and the room is still moving,” Foster reveals. “It was a fluid, cold, wet, strange trip.”
Screen Rant caught up with Pine and Foster at The Finest Hours junket to discuss taking a break from the ocean after wrapping their latest roles, the one word Pine couldn’t nail down in his Bostonian accent, and why people should see this film.
So how cold were you guys while filming this? It looked pretty brutal.
Ben Foster: My nipples could cut glass right now.
[Laughs] You have anything to add to that?
Chris Pine: It’s just a great comment.
Is there one scene in particular that you guys filmed where you were just so thrilled to make it through, especially after having 30, 40 takes?
Chris Pine: My nipples could cut glass right now.
Ben Foster: After a while, after like month three of doing this movie with our really sharp nipples, you’re like, “I’m in a blue room in a water tank.” And you begin to question the very fabric of reality. So by the time the movie is over, what was most interesting is that you get home and you are still on the boat. You walk into your hotel room or your apartment and the room is still moving. So it wasn’t so much a particular day, but a fluid cold, wet, strange trip.
On that note, how long after filming did you guys wait to get back on a boat? Was there a point where you were able to go on a scenic boat ride and have fun and not feel like you were heading out into the perfect storm?
Chris Pine: Didn’t step onto a boat for a long time. Didn’t have to.
Ben Foster: I just waited till it wasn’t so damn cold. Once it warms up, boats are great.
What’s the most courageous or heroic thing you guys have ever done in real life?
Ben Foster: Press.
Chris Pine: [laughs] It never gets old, that one. I don’t know. I’ll say this. Even thinking about it, all I have to do is remember what these guys did that day. Anything that I may have done pales in comparison.
What makes The Finest Hours special? Why should people go see this?
Ben Foster: Well, it’s a throwback film. It’s a film that seems to be grounded in classic American cinema from the ‘50s. And it’s about old school values, which is you do your job. It’s not about taking a selfie. It ain’t about being like, “Look what I’m doing! I’m totally saving his life! Hold on. I’m saving your life!” It’s about doing your job. And these men and women do this every single day. This is the most extraordinary courage. And it’s something that we all have inside of us, which is capability to take care of each other. And these guys actually do it every day. It’s really rewarding to be reminded of that in something that’s as visually stunning as this movie is.
Chris, what was it like nailing down the accent? Ben, you’re from Boston. Did you help him at all or did you just kind of make fun of him?
Ben Foster: Chris is more than capable.
Chris Pine: It was very hard. We’ll see if it works.
Ben Foster: He did a Finnish. I didn’t tell him. He was just doing a Finnish accent the whole time.
Chris Pine: Yeah. Goddammit.
Ben Foster: The Finnish Hours was the original title.
Was there one phrase or word that you just couldn’t convincingly say as a Bostonian?
Chris Pine: “Webba!” My one line. I’m sure there’s so many. I don’t know. There are a lot I’m sure. I don’t know. My brain’s not sharp enough to come up with a witty comment.
Ben Foster: “Caa” [car].
The Finest Hours opens in theaters January 29, 2016.