It’s been a rough few years for Ben Affleck, both personally (“It took me a long time to fundamentally, deeply, without a hint of doubt, admit to myself that I am an alcoholic,” he recently told the New York Times) and professionally (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League, Triple Frontier… basically everything but The Accountant, which is good). But the Oscar winner is receiving some of the best reviews of his career for his performance in The Way Back, “a performance that suggests the most interesting stretch of Affleck’s career as an actor is still to come,” Vulture‘s Alison Willmore writes. But Affleck almost lost the part after relapsing in 2018, only for actress (and his ex-wife) Jennifer Garner to urge The Way Back director Gavin O’Connor give him another shot.
“Just as we started prepping [The Way Back], Ben fell off the wagon,” O’Connor told 34th Street magazine in a recent interview. “So he ended up going to rehab, and I didn’t know if the movie was over. The studio certainly thought the movie was over. His ex–wife Jennifer Garner called me up, and told me that when he went to rehab, he took a basketball with him. She said, ‘Gavin, he’s asking you, please don’t pull the plug on the movie, he really wants to do this.’ So, he had about a week of detoxing, because he really went off the deep end, and after a week, I was able to go see him.”
O’Connor says he spent half a day with Affleck, who was tasked with playing an alcoholic while dealing with his own demons, and they “figured out a way to do this that will work for him, because most importantly he needed to recover and get his sobriety on track. That overtook everything. And then he got out the day before we started shooting. So we had a very raw, vulnerable guy showing up for our first day of shooting.”
The Way Back is out this weekend.
(Via 34th Street)