Jennifer Garner helped her ex-husband, Ben Affleck, keep an acting gig after he entered rehab again for alcoholism, “The Way Back” director Gavin O’Connor revealed in a new interview published Monday in University of Pennsylvania’s 34th Street outlet.
O’Connor told 34th Street that the studio thought the basketball movie, starring Affleck as an alcoholic coach, would be scrapped even as they prepped it.
But Garner helped keep the film on track after Affleck’s relapse, he said.
“His ex-wife, Jennifer Garner, called me up and told me that when he went to rehab, he took a basketball with him,” O’Connor said. “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,” he continued. “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. 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.”
O’Connor said it was painful but euphoric to watch Affleck “access his emotions” to shoot dark scenes.
“He was doing his job really well,” the director said.
Affleck told CNN that he gave “an honest performance.”
“Ultimately, my responsibility as an actor is an honest performance and having had that particular experience and knowing about alcoholism made me feel more confident sort of going, ’OK, this is sort of how this would feel and that would feel,” he said.
“The Way Back” opens Friday.