W Magazine Videos

Casey Affleck's Mom Once Got Him a Belly Dancer for His Birthday

In his Screen Test with Lynn Hirschberg, Casey Affleck recalls filming "Manchester by the Sea," his first movie crush (the girl in "Teen Wolf") and a memorable birthday arranged by his mother.

Released on 1/9/2017

Transcript

00:03
My first name is Caleb and my middle name is Casey,
00:06
and people just called me Casey, forever.
00:10
I think Caleb is a biblical name,
00:12
not that I read a whole lot of scripture
00:14
growing up or anything.
00:15
But when I went to college,
00:17
you show up and there's some stranger as your roommate
00:20
and he read a lot of the bible.
00:23
This was at Columbia and he told me that--
00:26
It's the first time,
00:27
you'd think my parents would have told me,
00:28
and he said, do you know who Caleb is in the Bible?
00:31
and I said no.
00:32
And he said well Caleb went up to the mountian
00:35
and he spoke to the people.
00:37
They did not name me after anyone as far as I know.
00:40
They gave me the name Caleb, I'm not sure why,
00:42
and then Casey was a middle name
00:44
and then McGuire is the name of my father's grandfather
00:48
who invented the rake
00:49
that most people use in their backyard.
00:52
Not in LA, where everyone just blows the leaves around
00:54
with leaf blowers.
00:56
Other people in the world when they rake the leaves
00:57
and it's got the multiple little limbs that are like that.
01:01
That was him, that was the man.
01:02
He invented the rake that's kind of the legacy of my--
01:05
that's our dynasty there, the rake people.
01:08
First thing that I remember auditioning for
01:10
was a weather commercial in Boston and I got the job.
01:14
The idea of the commercial was that
01:15
you oughta watch the weather in the morning
01:18
so that you know what's gonna come later in the day
01:20
because it might look sunny,
01:21
but it might rain later.
01:22
I was a kid who didn't watch the weather,
01:24
didn't watch TV in the morning,
01:25
and so he went off to school
01:26
without an umbrella and shorts and a t-shirt
01:29
and on the way home from school he got soaking wet.
01:32
I didn't even really know that was acting,
01:35
I didn't know what that was.
01:36
The only reason I was there was because my Mom's friend
01:38
was a local casting director in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
01:41
And so she would bring us in for things like that
01:43
because we were just kids that she knew
01:44
and if she was casting for kids, she'd ring the bell.
01:47
I didn't ever think about acting really
01:49
as a way of spending your life
01:51
or a way of expressing yourself
01:53
or as a way of making a living
01:55
until I was in my late teens.
01:57
Then I moved to Los Angeles
01:58
after I graduated from High School
02:00
and did what everyone else does,
02:02
Look for an agent,
02:03
badger them for auditions
02:05
and complain when you don't get any.
02:09
Manchester by the Sea is a town
02:10
on the north shore of Massachusetts
02:11
that I had never been up to that part of Massachusetts.
02:14
When I was a kid we didn't really leave Cambridge,
02:16
which was the town where I grew up in,
02:17
we almost never really went anywhere.
02:19
Definitely never up there so I didn't know what it was like.
02:21
I remember being a little kid
02:23
and I kind of had a crush on
02:26
the female lead in 'Teen Wolf'.
02:29
That movie did not make that big of impression on me
02:31
but I was probably 12 years old
02:33
and I thought that the woman who played the female lead
02:35
was quite charming.
02:37
Oddly, I think that the characters name was Boof,
02:41
(laughter) which is really weird.
02:42
I used to love movies that made me cry.
02:44
Now, they all do kind of and I don't like that so much.
02:47
I have my own things to cry about,
02:48
I don't want to go to the movies and cry.
02:51
I watched the 'Elephant Man' when I was really young
02:53
and I remember sitting in my father's apartment
02:55
on the floor and he had a black and white TV,
02:57
it's in black and white anyway.
02:58
Oh you know, I'm not an animal
03:00
that's a tearjerker.
03:02
I mean there are a lot of moments in it.
03:05
So that movie, because I was so young
03:06
and because it's so great,
03:08
just made a super strong impression on me
03:11
it stayed with me as I got older
03:13
and started to watch more movies and love movies,
03:16
I often compare them to that movie.
03:18
Uh, my favorite event on my birthday.
03:21
My mother got,
03:22
my brother and I had a birthday three days apart
03:24
and so we would have joint birthday parties,
03:26
and one year my mom hired a belly dancer.
03:29
She came to our backyard.
03:30
We had little torches out in the backyard,
03:33
it was about the size of this little room here,
03:36
and we didn't know.
03:37
So a woman showed up with like claspy things
03:41
and she started rolling her belly.
03:43
It just stuck in my mind
03:44
because it was such a weird thing to do, I think.
03:46
We had a whole bunch of friends over.
03:48
I'm sure the other parents were upset by it.
03:50
I don't know, but that is one.
03:52
We'd go to amusement parks,
03:53
mostly we just had a bunch of birthdays in my backyard.
03:57
I don't think we did a whole lot,
03:58
so the belly dancer was a big thing.