2016 Oscar winner Manchester By The Sea pulled in a lot of accolades—for its gorgeous visuals of New England living, for its unflinching performances, for its messy examination of family bonds. But if there’s one complaint that almost every critic came away from Kenneth Lonergan’s heartbreaker with, it’s this one: Why weren’t there more fucking whales?
Matt Damon understands your frustrations, friends. Damon—who produced the film—recently talked about the movie, and specifically its original, cut ending, which would have really boosted the film’s whale quota up to acceptable levels. (It also sounds like it would have changed its ultimate tone to something even more wistful and painful than what ended up on the screen.)
I love Manchester, I’m incredibly proud of it, but Kenny had an ending—there was this scene where they were on the boat that the whole movie’s kind of about, and it was a flashback to before Casey’s kids had died, before his brother had died, when he was still married to Michelle, and they were all on this boat and they were whale watching. It’s this incredible moment of joy and you see this family all together and then these whales start breaching out of the water. You needed [a] fucking drone cam, I mean it was one day of shooting and you gotta get lucky with the whales, but either way we could’ve figured that out. It was this epic [scene], so as the camera pulls back as this family is experiencing this incredible joy—and you know it’s about to go horribly wrong for them—the camera’s pulling up, up, up and it reveals all of these other boats all around it, and it’s all of these other families watching these whales and it’s like this is one little story in this sea of stories. It was epic and it was beautiful and it tied the whole thing together, and we ran out of money (laughs). It was like, ‘Fuck.’
Fuck indeed, Matthew, because that sounds both a) very beautiful, and b) like it would have given us all the whale fix we so desperately need.