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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."