“We’ve been big believers in Casey since Good Will Hunting,” producer Chris Moore said of Manchester By The Sea star Casey Affleck at The Contenders Presented by Deadline event last month at the DGA. “I mean, he’s very very talented and can embody a character like nobody I’ve ever seen,” he added of the actor in what has very clearly become one of this awards season’s major contenders — both for the film written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan and for Affleck.

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Along with production designer Ruth De Jong, the Good Will Hunting co-producer was speaking onstage to a packed house of Oscar and key guild voters about Manchester By The Sea and the hold the drama has taken on audiences since the film debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival.

 

“Tragedy happens to people — it happens more often than we’d like to admit,” Moore noted of the film about a haunted man, played by Affleck, who confronts his own demons and tragedies after the death of his brother puts new and seemingly overwhelming responsibilities on his shoulders. “There’s a cliché, it’s called the Hollywood ending, and the truth of the matter is a lot of people don’t have the Hollywood ending, tragedy hits you,” said Moore, the lon time collaborator with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. “I think it is one of the most honest movies I’ve ever been around.”

Coming out in wider release tomorrow, Manchester By The Sea also stars Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Gretchen Mol and Lucas Hedges as the nephew of Affleck’s Lee Chandler. Picked up by Amazon Studios and distributed theatrically by Roadside Attractions, the film won a Critics’ Choice Award for Affleck, topped numerous critics’ lists and has picked up a plethora of SAG, Golden Globes and Spirit Awards nominations.

Watch the video above to see more of Moore and De Jong discussing how the film came together.