Jennifer Garner, 47, made sure Ben Affleck, 47, kept his role as Jack Cunningham, a former basketball all-star struggling with addiction, in the new film The Way Back when he relapsed in 2018, and she did so by going straight to the film’s director, Gavin O’Connor. Gavin, 55, sat down for an interview with 34th Street Magazine and talked about how the actor’s former wife directly asked him to not “pull the plug” on the film because Ben loved it so much.
“So, what happened was, just as we started prepping the movie, Ben fell off the wagon,” Gavin told the publication. “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.’”
Gavin went on to explain that after his conversation with Jennifer Ben had “about a week of detoxing” before he met with him and they discussed the future of the film. “We spent half a day together and figured out a way to do this that will work for him, because most importantly he needed to recover and needed to get his sobriety on track,”he said. “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 news of Ben’s troubles while making The Way Back and Jennifer’s action to help him come after Ben made headlines for admitting that their divorce, which was finalized in 2018, is “the biggest regret” in his life in a Feb. 18 interview with The New York Times. Despite no longer being married, Ben and Jen still co-parent their three kids, Violet, 14, Seraphina, 11, and Sam, 8, and manage to maintain a healthy friendship when doing so.
“Ben and Jen have a great relationship now so she appreciated the kind words he used so publicly to take ownership for his past with the New York Times article,” a source EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife shortly after Ben’s NYT interview was published. “She realizes what a big deal it was for Ben to say the things he did. They talk all of the time for the sake of the kids. She really just wants him to be healthy and happy for their kids’ sake. That’s all.”
The Way Back will be released in theaters on Mar. 6.