Matt Damon: The question was how I came across the script. We went to Kenny with this idea, and had a little discussion with him — John Krasinski and I did. It was like seven years ago. [Kenny tells him it wasn’t that long.] It was three years ago? Casey and I did one of Kenny’s plays in London 14 years ago. Kenny is our favorite writer.
The idea was for me to direct this movie, and I think John was going to be in it, and then I think I was going to be in it. Once I read a very, very rough draft — it was about 4,000 pages — I just begged Kenny, I said you have to direct it. He eventually saw the wisdom. Then I was going to be in it, Kenny was going to direct me in it, and in a bizarre and atypical fit of generosity, I gave it to Casey.
It’s one of the best roles I’ve ever seen. Basically, what happened — I had a full slate. I wouldn’t be able to do this movie until next year. They could go last year with Casey. I didn’t want to get in the way of a great movie getting made. I already said to Kenny, I wouldn’t give this role up to anybody but Casey Affleck, and Casey instantly took the role. I never made it through this script without crying, and I never made it through any iteration of any cut of this movie without crying. It’s absolutely devastating. It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever come across. I wish I was in it, but I’m happy to just be attached to it.