We shot this movie in Cape Ann from late February to early May. It was very cold at first, but very beautiful. In Cape Ann you are never far from water. I loved being by the ocean and inlets all the time; I loved shooting on the boat, and in the marinas and dockyards and houses in Manchester, Gloucester and Beverly. I loved that part even when we were in triple overtime and I wanted to go to bed and never get up again. Plus, the food was great. My favorite restaurant was the Clam Box, in Ipswich, which has the best lobster rolls I’ve ever had, even though it was actually recommended to me for its fried clams, which are also excellent — although not as good as the fried clams at Nicky’s Cruisin’ Diner in Bangor, Maine, near the airport. But the Clam Box lobster rolls were literally twice as good as the next best lobster roll I’ve ever had, and I have had a lot of first-rate lobster rolls. I have no idea how this can be true, but it is.
During the shoot, I got to stay in a house in Annisquam, overlooking a little cove off the Essex River. It had a big picture window and a long deck outside facing the woods and houses across the water. In the daytime there were all kinds of birds outside my window, and spectacular planets in the sky almost every night. Except for weekends, I was usually in the house in the early mornings either going to work or coming back from it. In the early Spring a swan appeared and could be seen drifting around the cove very regularly. I don’t know anything about swans except what I read in The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B.
White. In that book, the cobb swims around and around all Spring on the lookout for predators, while his wife sits on her nest somewhere nearby, waiting for her eggs to hatch. I thought maybe that’s what this swan was doing. I had no idea of course, because we wrapped and went home before the cygnets would have been born anyway, and I don’t know anything about swans.
You never know why you write about the things you end up writing about. I suspect that the impetus to create anything is too specifically rooted in the artists’ personal psychology to be of much interest to anybody else, but you hope the results will be. My favorite part of film making is the process whereby a story initially developed in the privacy of your own imagination becomes the emotional property of other people. The story is nurtured and made to blossom under the care, emotions, and ideas of your collaborators. It becomes a kind of shared fantasy belonging to all of them, until it is finally passed along to an audience where – you hope – it becomes a part of their inner life, the
way the movies I love have become a part of me. Kenneth Lonergan
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA tells the story of the Chandler family, a working class family from Massachusetts. After Lee’s (Casey Affleck, 89th Academy Awards Best Actor Winner) older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) suddenly passes away, he is made the legal guardian of his nephew (Lucas Hedges).
Lee is forced to deal with a tragic past that separated him from his wife Randi (Michelle Williams) and the community where he was born and raised. Set in the North Shore of Massachusetts, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA is the new film written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan (YOU CAN COUNT ON ME, MARGARET).
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA will be available to own on DVD.