Ben Affleck opened up about the real reason he decided to give up playing Batman in a new interview with The New York Times. The actor said that a sincere warning from a friend helped motivate him to give up the cowl for the sake of his mental health and journey to sobriety.
In the last few years, Affleck’s struggles with alcoholism have been well-documented by the press. Things came to a head when he exited the role of Batman in the DC Extended Universe after portraying the part in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League, and briefly in Suicide Squad. He was prepared to write, direct, and star in a new solo movie aptly titled The Batman but wound up departing the project — which is now being helmed by Matt Reeves, with Robert Pattinson set to take on the role of the Caped Crusader.
According to his interview with The New York Times, Affleck showed a friend his version of the script, and they told him, “I think the script is good. I also think you’ll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again.”
His friend was referring to the infamously troubled Justice League shoot, which was allegedly quite taxing for the many actors involved, particularly Affleck. The interviewer noted that the actor “never seemed to enjoy his time as Batman.”
Affleck also discussed his own Hollywood support system, referring to fellow sober actors Bradley Cooper and Robert Downey Jr. as two people “who have been very supportive and to whom I feel a great sense of gratitude.”
The Iron Man actor had previously struggled with substance abuse and was arrested on multiple occasions. He spent time in rehab and has been sober for many years now. Cooper, meanwhile, has also struggled with alcohol addiction, although his struggles weren’t as well-documented as Affleck and Downey’s very public troubles.
In 2018, not long after the DC superhero team-up movie was released, Affleck checked into rehab for the third time. He reported that he had reached a year of sobriety in August of last year before relapsing in the fall.
The question of his sobriety has been raised by the press yet again, now that he’s promoting his new film, The Way Back, where he plays a character struggling with alcoholism.
“Regarding ‘The Way Back,’ the benefits, to me, far outweighed the risks. I found it very therapeutic,” Affleck said, regarding his role as an alcoholic in the movie.
The Way Back will hit theaters on March 6, 2020.