Star/director Ben Affleck studies criminal side of ‘The Town' he knows well
BY GENE TRIPLETT
TORONTO — Ben Affleck wanted to pull a job in his hometown of Boston. To get away with it, he imported a string of pros who he knew could fake convincing Beantown accents and
provide solid backup when the shooting started.
His accomplices were Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”), hailing from St. Louis; Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”), out of Modesto, Calif.; London native Rebecca Hall (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”); Blake Lively (upcoming “Green Lantern”), from out L.A. way; Pete Postlethwaite (“Inception”), another limey from Warrington, Cheshire, England; and Chris Cooper (“Adaptation”), of Kansas City, Mo.
Affleck’s plan was to knock over box offices nationwide with “The Town,” a heist thriller he co-wrote and directed, based on the Chuck Hogan novel “Prince of Thieves.” It opens today in theaters.
“I think the accents are a big issue because if you don’t do them well … they can really upend your movie,” Affleck said during a news conference last week at the Toronto International Film Festival.
“You have to hire really good actors to do it. I didn’t even have to know they can do it. So, when Blake came in and read the scenes, I asked her which part of Boston she was from. So, that was handled. And then with Renner — who I knew was a good actor, a great actor — I wasn’t worried about his ability to do it, I was just worried would he do it. … And so I sent him a lot of recordings.
“But more than the recordings, I found out that it’s about the people you stand next to. So, I put the right people around Jeremy without saying anything, and Jeremy’s so smart, and you could immediately see him sort of like radiating towards the people. … It was really fun to watch. And he’d show up at the set, and he had it dead to rights.”
“The Town” is about people who grew up in a one-square-mile neighborhood of Boston called Charlestown, which has produced more bank and armored car robbers than anywhere in
the U.S., according to the authors of the film and the book.
Affleck directs himself for the first time as Doug MacRay, leader of a crew of ruthless bank robbers that always gets out clean. The only family Doug has is his partners in crime, especially Jem (Renner), a dangerous dude with a hair-trigger temper: the loose cannon of the bunch.
“I had the hardest time, I think (with the accent),” Renner said. “It’s difficult. I’m not from the region, and I thought it was one of the most important things I had to overcome. It doesn’t matter how good Ben is or how good any actor is. (If the accent sounds phony) it’s going to pop out, and it’s gonna pull people out of the movie, I think.
“So, Ben didn’t help me at all, initially. I kept calling and saying, ‘When do I get that accent coach?’ He says, ‘We’re not doing those.’ I’m like, ‘OK, great.’ ‘But I got this little tape for ya. It’s, like, some criminals talking.’ I’m like, ‘OK.’ So, yeah, he gave me a lot of actual resources. Actually, when I got to Boston, there were resources out the wazoo. So, it became easier. But the ultimate challenge is to improv on the dialect.”
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 12604Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 10239Oklahoma tornadoes: Cost, custom keep basements scarce
- 9732Finding Addyson – One family's struggle in the Moore tornado
- 9189Oklahoma tornadoes: Plaza Towers Elementary School teacher shoved students into bathroom as wall collapsed
- 6670Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill to join Blake Shelton at "Healing in the Heartland" Oklahoma tornado benefit
- 4472Oklahoma tornadoes: Woman meets the military officer who shared the clothes off his back
- 4240Oklahoma tornadoes: Sooners bring back some smiles to Sydney Angle's teammates
- 4180Oklahoma tornadoes: 27 remain hospitalized from tornadoes
- 3744Story behind the photo: Family members describe desperate search for one another after EF5 twister
- 3718Oklahoma tornadoes: Thunder reverses the role, takes a turn at cheering on the community
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients