Tales of true heroism do two things to you when you’re watching them on the big screen. One, make you inspired because there are people so amazing that they actually put themselves on the line for others and two, make you wonder if you were in the same situations, would and could, you be heroic too. For the actors in Disney’s upcoming, The Finest Hours, the latter is just some of what they had to consider in creating these roles, that were based on real people, real heroes who went above and beyond in the face of danger. Chris Pine and Ben Foster portray the real life Coast Guard heroes who set off to save a group of men aboard an oil tanker that was ripped apart during a violent nor’easterner. We had a chance to sit down with the cast and director, Craig Gillespie, to find out more about the characters and filming.
The theme of the film was obviously surrounding this situation that happened, but you had this beautiful love story at the center of it. Why was that important?
Craig Gillespie: It was important and it was a little nerve-wracking. It’s actually how they (the real Bernie and Mariam Webber) met, you know, down to a ‘T’. It’s like she was the operator listening in on his calls and they talked for three months and finally had this blind date. And it’s exactly how it happens. There’s a little bit of that sort of nervousness of will these two mesh and you know I was hoping as an audience they would. At my first screening that was my biggest concern and people really responded to the love story. It’s a large part of Chris’ growth as a character, you know, because he starts out being this everyman that doesn’t want to be a leader, that likes to, you know, and he gets grief from the rest of the crew about always being – to do what he’s told. He’s a rule-follower and he has these moments throughout the film where he has to take things into his own hands. Part of that is that sort of strength, you know, from Holliday I think that, you know, that she’s sort of, you know, she’s sort of is that newer generation that can build that on.
You guys understand these people putting themselves after others, would you be able to fill their shoes in real life?
Ben Foster: We’re make believers. So the idea is imagining. One I believe we would all hope that inside all of us we have the capacity to do the right thing when we need to. Without plan. Without the availability of a big plan. Without the spiritual compass to go do the right thing. I think we all want that. And that’s the importance of these movies right now, today are real, not superheroes, real people doing real things. Not on you, just kidding, I appreciate the Avengers like anybody but it’s great to see real people doing real things for the good of their fellow man. I hope so.
Chris Pine: I have no idea and I guess I’ll never know until I’m thrown into that situation. But I think we all have that gene to do good and to do right. Some of us are called to do it more often than others. I think if this was like thousands of years ago, Ben and I would be the guys after the hunt was done. We’d be in front of the fire going ‘check it out, those guys did this.’ [makes battle motions]. That’s what we were called to do, that’s our job in the social fabric, our job as entertainers is to reflect back to the community. That’s why the movie business exists. That’s why television exists. That’s why theater exists is because we see ourselves reflected back. So my job is the reflector but in a certain situation, I don’t know. I would hope so. I would hope I would have the balls and the fortitude and the courage like these guys have.
Was it intimidating to be pretty much the only central female character in this man’s world?
Holliday Grainger: I mean you’re always the central female character in a man’s world it feels like. [LAUGH] So it’s well practiced, well known. It was slightly intimidating the first day only because I had literally flown overnight from a job in Wales actually that I was shooting. So I had arrived on set quite jet lagged, slightly terrified about the accent and everyone had been working with the guys for like two months and so as soon as I walked on site I did feel like I was like a museum piece. Everyone was just – it was just like everyone all eyes on me. Like here’s a woman, there’s a girl, she’s got lipstick. She’s like – she’s in heels and a dress, what is this? [LAUGH] And so that was slightly scary, but Craig was just so lovely and really, I mean immediately it was just oh this is play time, we can try it in lots of different ways, you know, so that was – that kind of took away any kind of intimidation.
What did you find was the most challenging aspect of your role?
Casey Affleck: I think trying to figure out how much, you know, fear you show, like how do people actually behave in those situations and sometimes the best guide is just like now-a-days you can find almost anything on line so you can find people who are taped, you know, videotaped in the middle of very stressful, scary situations. And they often – more often than not and the stuff that I saw and my experiences is that it’s not a whole lot of, you know, flailing and screaming. It’s really like those moments are quietly tense and strangely low key, you know, and whether it’s like airline pilots doing their things in super, you know, terrible situations or captain of boats or just people on the street in the middle of stuff. Now there is a wide range of behavior obviously from like panic and stuff to sort of total bizarre, total calm and that good stuff is good to steal from.
The Finest Hours opens January 29th, 2016 and is rated PG-13.