Although Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are no longer married, it seems the two of them are still very willing to support one another. In fact, Garner was instrumental in making sure that Affleck’s new film, The Way Back, got made. In an interview with 34th Street Magazine, a student magazine at The University of Pennsylvania, The Way Back director Gavin O’Connor explained the role Garner played in ensuring that the film moved forward, even as Affleck, its planned star, entered recovery for alcoholism.
“So, what happened was, just as we started prepping the movie, Ben fell off the wagon. 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,” O’Connor told the magazine.
The relapse happened in 2018, but Garner stepped in to make sure that the movie still got made.
“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,'” O’Connor continued.
The director continued by saying that Affleck had to detox for about a week before the two of them were able to meet about the future of the film. Then, O’Connor said that the two of them met for half a day to try to work out a way to get the film made without throwing off Affleck’s recovery, which O’Connor said was ultimately the most important thing.
The Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice actor got out of rehab just a day before shooting began. O’Connor shared that Affleck was particularly raw during that first day.
Garner’s support during Affleck’s recovery helped get the movie made, and as it turns out, that push helped her ex-husband. Affleck reportedly found the process of making the film cathartic. In an interview with People, the actor said that playing Jack Cunningham, the recovering alcoholic at the movie’s center, allowed him to really connect with the character.
The actor continued by saying that one of the best things about movies like this is the potential they have to make an impact. Affleck said his goal in the movie was to make something that would feel enduring and lasting. He acknowledged that not everyone would think it was great, but was inspired by the idea that it might move some people with its story of a man trying to get better.