Ghost Story, A (2017): David Lowery’s Offbeat Supernatural, Starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara

A Ghost Story, directed by David Lowery and starring Casey Affleck, received its European premiere at the 2017 Karlovy Vary Film Fest.

After working on the 2013 western noir, “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” the group, including producers Toby Halbrooks and James M. Johnston, was determined to return to small films.

“Everything I do is very personal,” Lowery says. “I don’t really think too much about why it is.”

Inspired by the true story of a bank robber with a string of successful heists — and jail escapes — the group brought the “Old Man and the Gun” script to Robert Redford.  Starring Elisabeth Moss, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover and Keith Carradine, the project recently wrapped shooting.

Affleck, who won the best actor Oscar this year for “Manchester by the Sea,” said he couldn’t grasp the concept for “A Ghost Story” on his first read but had enough faith in Lowery to know it would all turn out well.

The film centers on a musician named C, who’s killed off after the opening scenes.  The narrative then jumps forward and backward in time.

“As soon as it was done, I called Casey and Rooney Mara right away and said ‘You have to be in this.’”

Lowery went with the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, so that the framing would help to trap Affleck’s character between dark edges.  “On a thematic level, it’s about a character who’s stuck in a box for eternity.”

Lowery brings a unique mood and tone to his films, Affleck says. “I really like his sensibility. I like the things he likes.”

Actors are at the mercy of directors, walking into their world when they arrive on set: “If you feel at home and you can live in that world that makes your job that much easier.”

Reteaming with Rooney Mara

Working with Rooney Mara again–they shared the screen in “Aint Them Bodies Saints”–Affleck says he knew she would work for the role of C’s lover, whom his ghost watches but can’t interact with.  “She can show a huge range of emotions with her face in moments where she’s just alone,” says Affleck. “She doesn’t need a whole ton of dialogue to communicate feelings.”