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