When you ask Casey Affleck about his toughest scene to film in The Finest Hours, you’d think it would be something that involved him climbing through frigid water, lifting heavy beams in the bow of a boat, or simulating a leap off the side of a freighter. That, however, couldn’t be further from the case. So what did he consider to be his on-screen nemesis? A scene that involved peeling and eating a hard-boiled egg.
“It was not uncommon to do 20-30 takes to get [a scene] right,” he tells us. “So eating 20 or 30 eggs, I thought I would not get through that. I don’t really eat eggs very often.” The actor, however, made it through all those takes. He even admits to taking one for the team and downing a few dirty eggs.
Check out our interview with Affleck below as he talks about what went into telling the real-life story of his character Ray Sybert, how he prefers to keep land in sight whenever he takes a boat ride, and why he absolutely insists that The Finest Hours needs to be experienced in the theater.
Tell me about the filming conditions. As an audience member, I was absolutely freezing watching this. Was it brutal?
Casey Affleck: It was pretty cold. I can’t lie about that. But, you know, it wasn’t that bad considering we were supposed to be all cold. It’s one thing if you are freezing cold and you have to pretend that you are not. I don’t mind it. I don’t mind it if the elements are actually sort of what’s supposed to be really happening. The first few day were tricky, but just because you think you can’t make it. You’re sopping wet. It gets to you. And then you just get used to it and you realize it’s really not that big a deal.
On that note, did you have one scene that was your nemesis, like one that you were just thrilled that you survived?
Casey Affleck: There’s a scene where I am supposed to peel and eat an egg. Because of the nature of all the sort of technical elements in the movie, there’s a rocking boat, and then there’s the wind and the rain and all this stuff. And because it’s 3-D they wanted to have these very complicated, long, long shots. And so, the camera is on a little robot or a crane or something. And so, very often something would go wrong with the camera move, not with what the actors were doing, and they would have to do it again.
And so, for whatever reason, it was not uncommon to do 20, 30 takes. We did a lot of takes just to get it right. So, eating 20 or 30 eggs, I thought I would not get through that. I don’t really eat eggs very often. Then I made it through, did eat quite a few eggs. Many of them were dirty; we had dirty hands. Not that big a deal. Then we had to reshoot the scene for whatever reason. So it was back to the egg scene.
So the egg scene was a little bit my nemesis. But when you consider the many ways in which people have to make a living every day when they wake up, I figure that eating 20 eggs isn’t that bad.
And you haven’t eaten eggs since?
Casey Affleck: I have, I have. It sort of got me hooked. Now I eat 20 eggs a day.
How long after filming this did you wait to get back on a boat? Was there a point where you were able to say, “OK. I can go enjoy a fun boat ride and not feel like I’m heading out into the perfect storm?”
Casey Affleck: I like to just keep the land within sight. Nowadays they can tell you if there’s a storm three days out. So it’s not much of a concern. But I’ve never been a big boat person. I don’t spend a lot of time at sea.
What should audiences expect from The Finest Hours?
Casey Affleck: It’s an incredible story. The truth is that I was drawn to this movie because I thought it was a story I hadn’t heard of, it was real, and it really was…it all did happen. Very often they exaggerate this kind of thing. What these guys did was incredible. And it looks amazing. The scale of it is fantastic. So if you want to…I know it’s very easy to watch things on your phone or stay at home and watch stuff, but this is one of the movies that it’s kind of worth going to a theater to see, because it looks incredible. And what they can do nowadays visually, digitally, it all looks very real and very…it’s amazing.
Yeah, it needs to be experienced with the water splashing us in the face like it hit you guys, right?
Casey Affleck: Yeah.
The Finest Hours opens in theaters January 29, 2016.
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