Affleck directs, stars in Boston thriller "The Town"

Wed Sep 8, 2010 11:42am EDT
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By Silvia Aloisi

VENICE (Reuters) - Ben Affleck directs and stars in "The Town," a tense cops-and-robbers thriller set in Boston which is premiering out of competition at the Venice film festival.

Affleck, who made his directorial debut in 2007 with "Gone Baby Gone," also a Boston crime drama, plays the leader of a crew of ruthless bank robbers who dangerously falls for a woman the gang briefly takes hostage.

Overall his character, Doug, is painted in a sympathetic light as the FBI is closing in on him and he is torn between a desire to change life and the loyalty to his partners in crime who want to go for one last heist.

"The idea of whether or not I was glorifying a criminal character or minimizing the impact of violence was on my mind throughout and was really important," Affleck told reporters after a press screening.

"The need to reconcile those moral considerations with the demands of truthful storytelling was the central issue for me. I tried to be both as accurate and as complicated as I could because while I didn't want to glorify anything, I didn't want to oversimplify anything."

The film is based on Chuck Hogan's novel "Prince of Thieves" and set in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood, which has had more bank and armored car robberies than anywhere in the United States.

Raised near Boston, Affleck said he felt comfortable he had tried to make the film as realistic as possible, visiting prisons and talking to former bank robbers and FBI agents.

"I was a little bit hesitant actually to do this because I did not want to be pigeonholed as the Boston director guy but I liked the part, I wanted to play the part, I believed the story was good," he told reporters after a press screening.   Continued...

<p>Director Ben Affleck poses during a photocall for the movie "The town" at the 67th Venice Film Festival September 8, 2010. REUTERS/Tony Gentile</p>