News / Arts & Entertainment

Ben Affleck's 'The Town' Centers on Crime, Redemption

(L-r) SLAINE as Albert “Gloansy” Magloan, BEN AFFLECK as Doug MacRay, JEREMY RENNER as Jem Coughlin and OWEN BURKE as Desmond Elden in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros.Pictures.
(L-r) SLAINE as Albert “Gloansy” Magloan, BEN AFFLECK as Doug MacRay, JEREMY RENNER as Jem Coughlin and OWEN BURKE as Desmond Elden in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros.Pictures.

Multimedia

Audio

Ben Affleck explores themes of crime and redemption in his second film as director. Like his 2007 critically acclaimed directing debut, Gone Baby Gone, this new drama is also set in a tough, working class Boston neighborhood. Affleck stars in the film along with Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm and Rebecca Hall. Here's a look at The Town.



"There are over 300 bank robberies in Boston every year. Most of these professionals live in a one square mile neighborhood called Charlestown."


The Charlestown section of Boston is steeped in Early American history. Its landmarks include the monument to the Revolutionary War Battle of Bunker Hill. Paul Revere began his famous "midnight ride" on its the cobblestone streets. But the recent history of The Town is more about midnight raids against organized crime and a rash of armed robberies.

Doug, the leader of a notorious bank crew, starts getting second thoughts when their latest job runs into a snag and they take the bank manager hostage. Claire is her name and they release her unharmed, but under the guise of making sure their identities are safe, Doug finds and gets to know Claire.

He isn't supposed to fall in love with her, but he does and decides it is time to quit his life of crime. That is not what his buddies want to hear and they force him to pull one last heist.

(L-r) JEREMY RENNER as Jem Coughlin and BEN AFFLECK as Doug MacRay in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
(L-r) JEREMY RENNER as Jem Coughlin and BEN AFFLECK as Doug MacRay in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Ben Affleck stars as Doug and also directed the film. He says he found the dual role daunting.

"It was really challenging to do both," admits Affleck. "I'm still new to directing and I need a lot of time to focus on my directing. Acting takes time away from that. It was a hard thing. I hoped I would be up to it."

"You and your boys didn't just roll a Star Market over in Milton for a box of quarters. No, you decided to bang it out in the north end at nine o'clock in the morning with assault rifles. You dummies shot a guard. Now you're like a half-off sale at "Big and Tall." Every cop is in line."

Jon Hamm, star of the hit TV series Mad Men, plays the FBI agent determined to track down and stop Doug's gang. Although the crime investigation bureau did not officially support the film, Hamm says agents and officers on their own time did help him get his portrayal right:

JON HAMM as FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
JON HAMM as FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

"Researching the character, it was a tremendous advantage to be able to hang out and talk to several of the law enforcement officials in Boston at the Federal, state and local level," notes Hamm. "They do amazing work. There are a lot of robberies in Boston and a lot of them get solved because of the hard work by these guys. So it was nice to see from the inside how clear their objective is. Their job is to stop bad people from doing bad things. They are very clear on that, so that was very helpful to me."

As audacious as the gang seems to be, their exploits are drawn from real police accounts of robberies in the script adapted from the novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan.

(L-r) BEN AFFLECK as Doug MacRay and JEREMY RENNER as Jem Coughlin in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
(L-r) BEN AFFLECK as Doug MacRay and JEREMY RENNER as Jem Coughlin in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

"There was an article in the local paper, the Boston Globe, that said that the FBI said there are more armored car robberies coming from Charlestown than from anywhere else," explains Hogan. "Living in the [Boston] area I was kind of aware of that reputation for robbery, but to see it spelled out like that really tripped something in me. That was really the starting point back in 1995 when I started to think about it."

Even so, star and director Affleck says The Town taps into a long tradition of films about cops and robbers.

"The fact that there are a lot of movies in this genre points to the fact that it is very tricky to do," Affleck says. "You don't change the genre. You can retell those things over and over again, so the danger is the audience is going to feel it's a little predictable; but those movies stand as reminders that even with following the same genre conventions you can do something special, so that's what we were trying to do."

"I'll see you again …this side or the other."


REBECCA HALL as Claire Keesey in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
REBECCA HALL as Claire Keesey in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ crime drama “The Town,” distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

The Town also features Rebecca Hall as Claire, the woman who gives bank robber Doug a reason to go straight. Jeremy Renner co-stars as Doug's best friend and partner-in-crime Jem. Blake Lively is Jem's sister who also is in love with Doug; and Chris Cooper is Doug's estranged father serving a long prison sentence for just the sort of crimes his son now commits. The cast and filmmakers spoke about The Town when it premiered in September at the Toronto International Film Festival.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”