Manchester by the Sea: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams share emotional scene
In playwright Kenneth Lonergan’s brutally emotional third outing as a director, Casey Affleck plays Lee, a haunted man who’s fled his titular Massachusetts hometown after a devastating family tragedy. When his brother (Kyle Chandler) dies suddenly, Lee returns home to care for his nephew and is forced to deal with his past, including his estranged ex-wife Randi (Michelle Williams). “I think the character would like to give up but he can’t because he has these ties to his brother and his nephew and his ex-wife,” says Lonergan (You Can Count On Me). “He’s there for them even though it’s almost impossible for him to do it.”
The emotional climax of the film is a wrenching encounter between Lee and Randi on the streets of Manchester, a portion of which EW is exclusively premiering above. The scene was singled out by critics after the Manchester by the Sea debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it was acquired by Amazon for reported sum of $10 million. “We kept putting it off,” says Williams of shooting the catharsis. “It was like walking up to the guillotine or something. There was a lot of anticipation and dread. And then it was over!”
Manchester by the Sea screens at the Toronto International Film Festival this week and then hits theaters on Nov. 18.