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The Younger Affleck Steps into the Spotlight

Casey Affleck says he and his brother, Ben, started acting early, in part because of their mother's friendship with a casting agent.
Nancy Ostertag
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Casey Affleck says he and his brother, Ben, started acting early, in part because of their mother's friendship with a casting agent.

Last year, actor Casey Affleck starred in two major Hollywood films: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Gone Baby Gone.

In The Assassination of Jesse James, Affleck plays Robert Ford, the man who both admires — and eventually kills — the legendary outlaw. The part earned Affleck an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor.

In preparing for the film, Affleck came to believe that Ford didn't initially intend to murder James. Rather, telling police where James hid and then succumbing to pressure to kill him was, says Affleck, "a young, rash, impetuous, silly decision."

More recently, Affleck played a private investigator pursuing a child-abduction case in the film, Gone Baby Gone, directed by his brother, Ben.

Affleck says that he and his brother started acting at an early age, in part because of their mother's friendship with a casting director:

"She used to bring Ben and me in ... to be extras in movies when we were in school," remembers Affleck. "I didn't really care much about the movies. I thought, 'Well, this is a day off from school. I can graze over the service table for eight hours.'"

Later, Affleck signed up for a summer musical, and though he wasn't a gifted singer, he came away with a more genuine passion for acting:

"They cut out all my solos, but it was a lot of fun," he says. "And then the next year, I signed up for the drama class ... I've never really wanted to do anything else since then."

Both Gone Baby Gone and The Assassination of Jesse James are now out on DVD.

This broadcast originally aired October 29, 2007.

Copyright 2022 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Dave Davies is a guest host for NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.
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