Affleck, Pine Honor Coast Guard Heroes in New Movie

Christine Wang, Deputy News Editor

In honor of the Jan. 29 release of the new Walt Disney movie “The Finest Hours,” co-stars Chris Pine and Casey Affleck spoke with Washington Square News and other college media outlets around the country about their experience filming the historical disaster film. “The Finest Hours” was based off the coast guard’s actual Pendleton rescue mission in 1952.

In an incredible act of heroism Pine’s character, Bernie Webber, braved the seas during a tremendous storm and successfully rescued 32 sailors, including Affleck’s character, Ray Sybert, from an oil tanker that had been split in half by 70-foot waves.

“No matter how much I’ve heard about the story or read about it, I’m still really surprised by how big the ship was and how big those waves must have been to split a 500-foot oil tanker in half,” Affleck said. “It’s the kind of thing you want to see someone make a movie out of so you can go watch it.”

Because the movie is based on a true story, its production was an emotional journey for the cast. In order to familiarize himself with Bernie’s reality, Pine visited the real Coast Guard Station Chatham, stepping into the shoes of the real-life hero.

“We shot at the lighthouse that’s attached to the actual coast guard station there in Chatham,” Pine said. “We got to go to the cafeteria, the same spot where Bernie and his boys took a photo right after the night had ended. You can’t help but be affected by that. And to take out the actual [rescue ship] and go out to the open waters where it happened was quite something, too.”

When the two were asked what drew them to the movie, Affleck mentioned his attachment to his hometown in Massachusetts and joked about the Boston community’s typically brutal reactions to movie premieres.

“I’m just a sucker for any kind of project that’s [in Massachusetts],” Affleck said. “When the movie comes out, people in Boston don’t mind telling you they hated it, so it’s nice to know where you stand.”

Pine, on the other hand, felt especially drawn by the character that he played, inspired by the powerful acts of sacrifice and genuineness that Bernie embodied.

“I love the idea of a regular man up against seemingly insurmountable odds,” Pine said. “Bernie is a man that wears his heart on his sleeve, and he’s not like many of us that put on all this armor and try to be macho and tough.”

Pine also commented on the nature of his job in the entertainment industry in contrast to the old-fashioned simplicity of Bernie’s approach to his dangerous job.

“There’s an honesty and a truth to him,” Pine said. “There’s a purity in wanting to do your job well and to serve other people because you don’t need more than that. Many times in our business, it’s all about stuff that’s completely opposite from that, like getting your picture taken and Twitter.”

Email Christine Wang at [email protected].