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Ben Affleck based ‘The Way Back’ character off own alcoholism

Ben Affleck has opened up about portraying a character with a drinking problem in “The Way Back”, drawing on his own experience with alcohol addiction.

When asked by Sacha Baron Cohen during an interview for Variety if he had been intoxicated for a scene in which his character, an alcoholic construction worker, relentlessly drinks all the beers from a fridge, Affleck replied: “I was sober. It’s the value of research. Research your role.”

He went on: “An actor who wasn’t an alcoholic or an addict would want to sort of illustrate it, show it, demonstrate it. And my experience, especially toward the end of the period of my time in my life when I was drinking, was that it was more drawn in, withdrawn, separate, isolating.”

48-year old Affleck has endured an on-again-off-again struggle with drinking throughout his life, last year declaring that he has vowed to stay sober for the sake of his children.

The actor explained to Baron Cohen he wanted the depiction of intoxication in The Way Back scene to be “ritualistic and self-soothing”, rather than a “crazy and out of control” drunk.

“The guy in there is withdrawing into himself,” he said.

Remarking that live audiences initially found the moment in the 2020 Gavin O’Connor-directed sports drama funny: “like the Miller (beer) commercial or something”, Affleck recalled that as the montage played on, it became increasingly unsettling for viewers.

“You could feel the palpable discomfort,” he recounted, adding: “it’s hard for people to watch.”

– Cover Media