Sundance: Casey Affleck, Kyle Chandler Talk Family Matters of 'Manchester by the Sea'

The film once had John Krasinski and Matt Damon attached to star, and director Kenneth Lonergan joked, "I think Casey is a wonderful actor — much better than Matt!"

Kyle Chandler and Casey Affleck play brothers in Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan's latest film that's screening at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

“It was very easy for that relationship to form onscreen," Chandler told The Hollywood Reporter, and Affleck agreed: "We had a pretty comfortable relationship right from the start — it was a bit more father-son."

In the film, the sudden death of Joe (Chandler) has his younger brother Lee (Affleck) made legal guardian of Joe's son (Lucas Hedges), pushing Lee to return to his hometown and face his separated wife Randi and the community of North Shore, Mass.

Hedges, currently a college freshman, said he has a friend who refuses to go home because of the amount of trauma he associates with his childhood bedroom. "It's the same thing for what's going on with Lee," said the actor. "There's a lot of shit associated with his hometown that he doesn't want to deal with."

Still, "if you try to be truthful and accurate, then whatever you’re trying to be truthful and accurate about seeps into the story on all levels," said writer-director Lonergan.

Manchester by the Sea once had John Krasinski and Matt Damon attached to star. Lonergan joked that replacing Damon (who is a producer) with Affleck is "always a bit of a step down," but then added, "I think Casey is a wonderful actor — much better than Matt!"

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