Casey Affleck on the physical and emotional demands of ‘Out Of The Furnace’

Ben Affleck’s been in the midst of a career renaissance lately, and the sheer volume of the reaction to his casting as Batman should serve as an indication of just how high visibility he remains. In the meantime, Casey Affleck’s been busy with a Batman of his own, co-starring with Christian Bale in the dark revenge drama “Out Of The Furnace.”

It’s an incredibly physical performance by Affleck, and I’m not sure I’ve seen him do anything like this before. When we sat down to discuss the film, I had to ask him about how he approached that side of things, and I was surprised to see that he basically dismissed the challenge of turning himself into a sculpted block of wood. Ultimately, though, he’s right; the physical transformation doesn’t matter if he doesn’t do an equal amount of emotional work, and this is one of the strongest roles he’s played.

Talking to each of the cast members, it’s obvious that this really mattered to them. This wasn’t the sort of thing you sign on to do if you’re looking to get rich, but is instead driven largely by passion. That’s one of the things I’ve noticed about Affleck; he seems to be a guy who makes choices because he wants to have an experience or he genuinely loves a role, and he’s quietly built a pretty spectacular filmography as a result. Between “The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford” and “The Killer Inside Me” and “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” and “Gerry,” I think he’s enormously underrated, and this film serves as just one more example of how good he can be in the right role.

As we wrapped things up, I had to ask him about the possibility of a sequel to “Gone Baby Gone,” and it sounds like the odds of that ever happening are slim to none. That is a damn shame. Still, with “Interstellar” right around the corner, Affleck’s obviously got plenty to look forward to, as do fans of his work.

“Out Of The Furnace” is in theaters on Friday.