Meet the Cast of The Finest Hours
By: Jen Miyagishima
The Finest Hours recounts the days leading up to the harrowing event that takes place on February 18, 1952. It’s a griping tale that is led by a solid cast of actors led by Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Casey Affleck and Holliday Grainger. Recently I had the opportunity to meet with them, as well as the director to get the inside scoop on The Finest Hours.
A heroic action thriller, “The Finest Hours” is the remarkable true story of the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history. On February 18,1952, a massive nor’easter struck New England, pummeling towns along the Eastern seaboard and wreaking havoc on the ships caught in its deadly path, including the SS Pendleton, a T-2 oil tanker bound for Boston, which was literally ripped in half, trapping more than 30 sailors inside its rapidly sinking stern. As the senior officer on board, first assistant engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) soon realizes it is up to him to take charge of the frightened crew and inspire the men to set aside their differences and work together to ride out one of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast. Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard led by Coast Guard Captain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) sets out to rescue the stranded men.
The Finest Hours weaves together three different storylines. There is the storyline between Bernie and Miriam, played by British actress Holliday Grainger. Then you have the compelling story on the boat and lastly, you see Coast Guard try to rescue the men. When I sat down to meet the actors who played these true-life characters, I had to ask “What drew you to the film?”
Chris: This was a great script and a really interesting character. I love stories that are not all that complicated but that are really well told.
Ben: I was so taken by this script because it wasn’t overwritten. It was a beautiful, concise and simple story. The dialogue felt very true and lived in.
Holliday: The story. I hadn’t heard it before and I found it fascinating. It’s such a huge adventure and it was great to be a part of telling it.
Holliday talked about playing the role of Miriam, a woman in the 1950’s. According to Holliday, Miriam was “very self-assured and strong, defying conventions but at the same time having such strong traditional values of marriage.” She found it interesting to play such an independent woman.
Craig Gillespie, the director of The Finest Hours, shared what it was like to cast Holliday in the role of Miriam.
Craig: The one story [in the film] is the love story with Holliday and Chris. It was such a critical role to cast. The character needed to have strength and be vulnerable at the same time. Miriam would challenge authority, yet still have innocence and naiveté. Trying to find an actress that could pull that off, it was a great to see how electric Holliday was with that role.
Chris Pine’s New England accent is so well done in the film. I couldn’t help but wonder how he captured that accent.
Chris: I had some great audio recording of Bernie. Bernie wrote a firsthand account of the experience. That recording was kind of my touchstone and that was my version of Bernie.
Casey Affleck played first assistant engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck). What drew him to this role was the fact that his character was very cerebral and calm. He sees the life and death situation as more of a puzzle and not a threat. He also loved the script, saying “One of the things I loved about this movie was that it really was this intimate story about people trying to help each other in an incredibly stressful scary time. And you know that felt like a very sort of positive environment and so it was kind of an uplifting story in that way and you don’t see that that much.”
Does Casey Affleck’s character ultimately get rescued? You’ll just have to see how the storyline plays out in the film!
The Finest Hours opens in theatres everywhere on January 29th!
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Thank you Walt Disney Studios for the use of these photos and for inviting me to this press event. All opinions are my own.