Casey Affleck, left, with writer-director Kenneth Lonergan during the filming of "Manchester By The Sea."
Claire Folger/Roadside Attractions and Amazon Studios via AP
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The filmmaker and playwright Kenneth Lonergan, a self-described "ultranaturalist" whose eloquently empathic stories tremble with the richness of daily life, began his writing career, surprisingly, awash in science fiction.Lonergan's favored longer edit has steadily gained in stature.Lonergan's new film, "Manchester by the Sea," is already one of the most acclaimed movies of the year, roundly pegged as an Oscar favorite.The idea of the film was first brought to Lonergan by Matt Damon (who co-stars in "Margaret") and John Krasinski. They hoped Lonergan would write it and Damon would direct and star. Time passed and schedules got complicated, and ultimately Lonergan took up directing, too, with Damon (now a producer) handing the role to his longtime friend, Affleck. It was, to a certain extent, a lifeline out of the debilitating saga – the "unrelenting difficulties," as Lonergan puts it – of "Margaret". Affleck, who starred in a London production of Lonergan's "Youth in Revolt," describes Lonergan as allergic to sentimentality and artificial convention.Lonergan is less mystical about his process.Some of the scenes in "Manchester by the Sea" came out of Lonergan simply driving up and down Cape Ann to figure out how his characters would have gotten around.
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