Casey Affleck plays an Iraq War veteran – who served four tours of duty – in “Out of the Furnace” and used a bit of his time on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” to rally for support for jobless and homeless vets.
In the movie filmed in Pittsburgh, he is Rodney Baze, Christian Bale’s younger brother. “He’s coming back to Braddock, Pa., and it’s a struggling economy and these young guys, they come back and they’ve seen horrible things and they’re either, physically, they’re injured or they’ve experienced some trauma and sometimes they have a very hard time.
“The skill set that they have and are bringing back, they can’t really get a job with, so he’s having a hard time getting a job. It’s very hard to talk about the things he’s seen and done.
“In this country, right now, about a third of the adult homeless population are veterans, about 200,000 of them, and so they’re just not getting the support that they deserve, having served our country and been through some heavy stuff. And they come back here and they need more support.
“My character gets caught up in this illegal fighting ring to make money and gets into trouble,” he said. The trouble comes from the sociopathic Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson), the leader of a ruthless backwoods crime ring in the New Jersey Ramapo Mountains.
The 38-year-old Affleck, younger brother to Ben Affleck and a real-life husband and father of two, said he trained with John Bray, who has sparred with Mike Tyson and is a professional boxer. He apparently is the brother of Ben Bray, the movie’s fight coordinator.
“He just worked with me for months until he got me in shape, got me to look like I could actually hurt somebody with a punch.”
Leno told Affleck he thought it was one of the best acting jobs of his career.
A clip also highlighted Harrelson, who Leno called “one of the greatest villains I’ve ever seen.” The late-night host said it is a “wonderful, wonderful film.”
It opens Dec. 6. (Photos by Kerry Hayes)