In Out of the Furnace Casey Affleck plays Rodney Baze, a PTSD suffering military man who finds himself engaging in bare-knuckle fights to pay off his gambling debts. Such an intense role required an actor who was equal to its requirements, and following a compelling turn in David Lowery’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Affleck gives another impressive performance.
I was lucky enough to catch up with the actor on behalf of This is Fake DIY ahead of Furnace’s UK release this week, and Affleck tells me how he has developed as an actor and the meaning of the tattoos Rodney wears. Additionally, he discusses what it was like working with Christopher Nolan on upcoming sci-fi epic Interstellar. Have a read below.
Scott Cooper made his directorial debut with Crazy Heart (2009), a film that won Jeff Bridges an Oscar for Best Actor. For his sophomore effort Out of the Furnace (2013), Cooper once again manages to get the very best from his star-studded cast, but whilst there is admiration to be taken for foregoing a traditional revenge story, the well-intentioned narrative is sadly short on momentum.
Set in small-town Pennsylvania, Out of the Furnace centres on Russell Baze (Christian Bale), a virtuous blue-collar man who takes care of his dying Father and looks out for his little brother Rodney (Casey Affleck), an Iraq war veteran. An untimely accident sees Russell go to jail, and he returns to a girlfriend who’s moved on and a Father who has passed away. Worse still, his younger sibling has fallen into the world of bare-knuckle fighting in a bid to pay off his gambling debts. On the hunt for more lucrative bouts, Rodney begs bookie John Petty (Willem Dafoe) to set up a fight in the backwoods of New Jersey run by psychotic hillbilly Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson). When they don’t return and the police prove reluctant to get involved, Russell takes matters into his own hands.
After gaining a lot of buzz at this year’s Sundance and Cannes film festivals, Neo-Western Ain’t Them Bodies Saints – the assured second feature from prolific film editor David Lowery – finally gets its UK release. Although working with familiar archetypes, excellent performances combined with some sumptuous visuals help distinguish this from similar fare.