Casey Affleck

Casey Affleck

Caleb Casey Affleck was born in Falmouth, MA, but raised in Cambridge along with his older brother Ben. Their father, Tim, was a sometime actor who bartended, but mainly worked as a mechanic and janitor before becoming a drug counselor; their mother, Chris, was a Harvard-bred grade school teacher. While they were children, their parents divorced, with their mother singularly raising them after their father headed out to California. Within their diverse, academic-minded neighborhood, the brothers' childhoods were relatively normal. Their mother's casting director friend, Patty Collins, kept them occupied by turning them onto acting. Subsequent auditions yielded Casey's first serious small screen appearance in a WGBH adaptation of "Lemon Sky" (1988), which segued into his playing hometown hero Bobby Kennedy as a teen in the miniseries, "The Kennedys of Massachusetts" (ABC, 1990). Both brothers, along with childhood friend Matt Damon, went on to attend Cambridge Rindge & Latin, where all were mentored by acting teacher Gerry Speca within its well-regarded theater program. Graduating high school in 1993, the younger Affleck headed for Los Angeles, but after a year of mostly uninteresting opportunities, considered college. His plan was halted after director Gus Van Sant cast him as a suggestible, hard-edged teen in the media satire, "To Die For" (1995). During shooting, Affleck befriended co-star Joaquin Phoenix and Phoenix's family. He ultimately went to school after shooting, heading to George Washington University to focus on political courses before transferring to Columbia University in New York. By 1997, two years into physics and astronomy studies, Affleck began to have doubts about his place there. Luckily, Van Sant began coaxing him towards the role of Morgan, the smart-mouthed pack member (and onscreen brother to Ben) of the Boston-based drama, "Good Will Hunting" (1997) - the film which Ben and Matt had famously written for themselves as actors.The elder Affleck had had a head start by starring in Kevin Smith's romantic comedy, "Chasing Amy" (1997) - in which Casey had a humorous cameo - but when "Good Will Hunting" hit theaters that Christmas, the younger Affleck watched as his brother and Damon's careers took a rocket ride into the Hollywood stratosphere. Though a minor character in the film, Affleck nonetheless, enjoyed his own minor fame as the pervert Morgan, stealing virtually every scene he was in. Poised for similar possibilities as his brother and Damon, he started to focus on his own career, co-starring with Kate Hudson in the quirky indie comedy "Desert Blue" (1998) alongside Kate Hudson, followed by a role in the New Year's Eve comedy, "200 Cigarettes" (1999), which featured Ben and became a calling card for Hudson. Casey himself then landed a surprise cameo of a virginal teen's cool older brother in the hit raunch-with-heart comedy, "American Pie" (1999). In 2000, Affleck began dating Joaquin Ph nix's actress sister, Summer. On screen, he added to his resume by slipping into the sh s of a slow-witted murder suspect in "Drowning Mona;" playing the tatto d brother of a jilted wife in "Committed," and channeling Fortinbras in a modern-day "Hamlet." Though he returned for another cameo in the lackluster "American Pie 2" (2001), none of the smaller projects managed to soar or bring him to the next career plateau, a la his big brother.Fortunately for Affleck, a year later, George Clooney and producing partner, director Steven Soderbergh, recruited a crack team for an update of the Rat Pack heist comedy "Ocean's Eleven." In the roles of the drivers, Affleck and Scott Caan gainfully stepped into roles intended for Luke and Owen Wilson, with Affleck's pal Damon also in for the con. The remade "Ocean's" was an extraordinary bit of onscreen fun; its ensemble cast's jocular camaraderie reflected in a 2002 MTV Movie Award nomination. Its ensuing critical popularity marked Affleck's emergence as an actor who had come into the club on his own terms.In a change of pace, Affleck headed to London's West End with Damon and Ph nix for a 2002 stage production of Kenneth Lonergan's "This is Our Youth." He and Damon then conceived the curiously dialogue-light, stranded hiker drama, "Gerry" (2002), under Van Sant's experimental direction, before dropping back into the fold of "Ocean's Twelve" (2004). At the time of production in May 2004, Affleck and Ph nix were engaged and saw their son, Indiana August, born while on location in Amsterdam. By 2005, he was ready to headline movies himself, pulling in a strong performance as Jim, the depressed, Midwestern aspiring writer of "Lonesome Jim" (2005), before tackling the adult responsibilities of marriage and fatherhood in the ensemble drama, "The Last Kiss" (2006). Affleck ushered in 2007 with several big film releases in the pipeline. A third "Ocean's" was slated for the summer, and he was also stepping out with his "Ocean's" co-star Brad Pitt to play another titular character - the sly, murderous Robert Ford in director Andrew Dominik's "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." As Affleck gracefully came into his onscreen maturation, his older brother took a break from the spotlight's harsh glare - following his much publicized (and mocked) romance with Jennifer Lopez. Having lowered his profile after marrying Jennifer Garner and becoming a dad to baby, Violet, Ben brought his sibling on board his directorial debut of "Gone, Baby, Gone," helping the younger Affleck channel the tentative, cautious private investigator of Dennis Lehane's novel. Affleck's sensitive but intense take as a believable leading man surprised many who were used to his oddball onscreen persona. While promoting the film, both brothers fawned over one another's talents in bringing this version of the novel to the screen - in fact, critics were hard pressed on who to congratulate more - the newbie director who had redeemed himself in the industry's eyes, or his shorter, look-a-like brother, who heretofore, had never shown he could anchor a film as lead hero or hold his own opposite such heavyweights as Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris. Either way, both Afflecks found great success with "Gone, Baby, Gone" - a film many critics put on their "best of the year" lists. Meanwhile, Affleck earned a few award nominations, including nods at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards. He also secured an Oscar nod for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.A lead performance in the controversial "The Killer Inside Me" (2010) ensured that Affleck remained an actor on the rise, even if the film's painfully graphic depiction of violence against women angered many. As a deputy sheriff hiding a deadly secret, Affleck had the challenge of bringing his character from placid politeness to murderous rage, and critics had a lot to say about his performance, even if the film itself proved incredibly dividing. Affleck next reteamed with Phoenix to direct and co-star the improvised mockumentary "I'm Still Here" (2010), with Affleck's camera following Phoenix as he purportedly retires from acting to find a new career. Returning to a more conventional career track, Affleck co-starred in action comedy "Tower Heist" (2011) and animated hit "ParaNorman" (2012), followed by a starring role in David Lowery's indie romance "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" (2013) opposite Rooney Mara. Supporting roles in Scott Cooper's action thriller "Out of the Furnace" (2014) and Christopher Nolan's science fiction romance "Interstellar" (2014) were followed by a critically acclaimed lead role in Kenneth Lonergan's "Manchester by the Sea" (2016). Playing a Massachusetts man thrust into caring for his teenage nephew (Lucas Hedges) after the death of his brother, Affleck drew critical raves for his sensitive and emotional performance, which won him the Academy award for Best Actor. Affleck also hosted "Saturday Night Live" (NBC 1975-) as part of his promotional work for the film. Affleck's next screen appearance came in David Lowery's supernatural drama "A Ghost Story" (2017).