Ben Affleck, 47, fell back on his struggles with his drawn-out divorce with Jennifer Garner, 47, and alcoholism to inspire his performance in his upcoming movie The Way Back. For the sports drama premiering in March of 2020, Ben is tackling the role of a divorcee and recovering alcoholic who begins to coach an underdog basketball team. Ben didn’t hesitate to point out this thin line between the character and actor in an interview with AP News, published on Feb. 27. “Sometimes just feeling those feelings again purges them a little bit and frees you a little bit,” Ben admitted. “This movie was hard to make. Sometimes it was painful. And sometimes I was embarrassed. And sometimes I couldn’t believe my life had any similarity to this.”
Despite the difficult emotions, The Way Back‘s director Gavin O’Connor revealed that Ben really pushed himself — to the point of a breakdown. The director let Ben take the wheel as he filmed a scene in which his character tries to “make amends” with his wife. “It was probably the second take, Ben just had a breakdown,” Gavin revealed. The director was “getting chills” as he remembered the haunting day on set — “It was like the dam broke and everything came out.” Gavin added, “I just remember the crew, everyone was frozen, watching him bear his soul. It was obviously real. A lot of things that he probably had to say in his own life, or maybe he had said, I don’t know.”
Ben was so vulnerable in the scene, the director cut some of the footage! “It would be too hard for an audience to watch, too personal,” Gavin explained. However, Ben didn’t censor his true thoughts in this incredibly honest interview — he also admitted that his drinking became worse around the time his real-life marriage with Jen began to crumble. The movie’s team even feared that the film was “going to fall apart” after Ben entered rehab amid preparations for the movie, the director revealed. After separating from Jen in 2015, Ben had made multiple trips to rehab, his last being in the fall of 2018 right before finalizing his divorce with Jen. Regardless, Ben “still wanted to do” the film after rehab, the director shared.
Ben has not been silent when it comes to voicing his regrets over the fallout of his marriage. “What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart. This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems,” he candidly revealed in his Feb. 18 profile piece in The New York Times. Ben, who shares kids Violet, 14, Seraphina, 11, and Samuel, 7, with Jen, went on to confess that the “biggest regret” of his life was “this divorce.”