Actor Ben Affleck is starring in a new film titled “The Way Back,” playing a character who has undeniable similarities to Affleck’s personal life.
The movie follows the life of a high school basketball coach battling alcoholism while coming to terms with his failed marriage.
Affleck is intimate with the pain and suffering of both, openly discussing his alcohol addiction as well as his public divorce from actress Jennifer Garner.
Ben Affleck opens up about his divorce, that back tattoo, and alcoholism: “It took me a long time to fundamentally, deeply, without a hint of doubt, admit to myself that I am an alcoholic. The next drink will not be different.”https://t.co/a8aWv33XDF
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 18, 2020
Affleck and Garner, both 47, began dating in 2004 and were married the following year. The pair have three children together — daughters Violet, 14, and Seraphina, 11, and son Samuel, 7.
The pair announced their separation in June 2015 and finalized their divorce in October 2018.
In an interview with The New York Times, Affleck spoke at length about taking on a lead role that mirrored much of the personal devastation he and his family has suffered over the last several years.
Affleck spoke about the “vicious cycle” of addiction and how difficult it is to break.
“I drank relatively normally for a long time,” the Oscar-winning writer told The Times. “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.”
Affleck said that while he still grapples with guilt over his failed marriage, he has learned to let go of the shame.
“The biggest regret of my life is this divorce,” he said.
“Shame is really toxic,” Affleck continued. “There is no positive byproduct of shame. It’s just stewing in a toxic, hideous feeling of low self-worth and self-loathing.”
But Affleck is determined to move forward, refusing to nurse and rehearse the pains of his past.
“It’s not particularly healthy for me to obsess over the failures — the relapses — and beat myself up,” Affleck told The Times. “I have certainly made mistakes. I have certainly done things that I regret. But you’ve got to pick yourself up, learn from it, learn some more, try to move forward.”
The actor said playing a starring role in a film about redemption after devastation has been healthy for him.
“I’ve never been very risk-averse — for better or worse, obviously,” Affleck said. “Regarding ‘The Way Back,’ the benefits, to me, far outweighed the risks.
“I found it very therapeutic,” he added.
Film director Gavin O’Connor agreed with the actor, saying participating in the film helped Affleck find additional healing.
“I think that Ben, in an artistic way, in a deeply human way, wanted to confront his own issues through this character and heal,” O’Connor told The Times.
“The Way Back,” one of four films the actor has coming out this year, debuts March 6.
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