- Jennifer Garner pleaded with the director of "The Way Back" Gavin O'Connor to not cancel the movie after its star, her ex-husband, Ben Affleck, suffered an alcohol relapse.
- O'Connor told student magazine 34th Street about Garner 's intervention: "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.'"
- In the movie, Affleck stars as a former basketball star who takes a coaching job at his alma mater as a shot of redemption after suffering from alcoholism.
- O'Connor visited Affleck in rehab to work out a way to do the film: "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. We spent half a day together and figured out a way to do this that will work for him."
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Jennifer Garner begged the director of Ben Affleck's new film "The Way Back," Gavin O'Connor, to not pull the plug on the movie after her ex-husband suffered an alcohol relapse.
Director O'Connor spoke to student magazine 34th Street about his latest film "The Way Back," his second collaboration with Affleck following "The Accountant," and admitted that he "didn't know if the movie was over" after Affleck "fell off the wagon" and ended up going into rehab.
"The studio certainly thought the movie was over," O'Connor told 34th Street. "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.'"
Garner and Affleck, who had been married for 13 years, had officially divorced by this point. Affleck has suffered with alcoholism for years now and returned to residential treatment in 2017 and, following a relapse, again in 2018 where he completed a 40-day stint in rehab.
He then relapsed again in late 2019 following a year of sobriety. He also recently stated that divorcing Garner was the biggest regret of his life.
"The Way Back" follows a former basketball star suffering from alcoholism trying to earn redemption by accepting a job as a basketball coach at his alma mater.
As O'Connor puts it: "This was gonna become art imitating life, life imitating art."
O'Connor talked about Affleck finding his own way back from his relapse and rehab stint to this film:
"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," O'Connor told 34th Street.
"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 also spoke about the pain that Affleck's vulnerability was accompanied with, telling 34th Street that some of the "obviously painful" scenes were "really intense and dark and bleak."
"And capturing that, to watch [Affleck] do that was hard at times, but it also was euphoric because that's your job as an actor, to access these emotions and to go to places that are honest and deep and truthful. So, it always felt really good, even though it was painful because he was doing his job really well."
"The Way Back" is in theaters March 6.
You can watch the trailer for "The Way Back" below:
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