Ben Affleck has been one of Hollywood’s favorite leading men for the better part of the past few decades.
And the two-time Academy Award winner has evolved in his craft since his breakout role in the 1997 film Good Will Hunting.
He believes getting older and having different life experiences has improved his acting abilities, which he demonstrated last year in his sports drama The Way Back.
The 48-year-old told Sacha Baron Cohen for Variety: ‘I feel like my own acting, at least by my own standards, has gotten better as I’ve gotten older, and had more life experiences and had more stuff to access.’
He also revealed that directing The Town (2010) and Argo (2012) made him a better actor: ‘This was a bit atypical for me. I’ve kind of changed as an actor, my approach, particularly from before and after I started directing, because it was really instructive.
‘I learned more about acting from directing than I did from acting classes. There’s something really valuable about being on the other side, and seeing what works and what doesn’t. And what you can do editorially, and just getting used to the sound of your own stupid voice.’
Affleck stars in the movie as Jack Cunningham, a former high school basketball superstar who quit the game under mysterious circumstances.
Now struggling with alcoholism while stuck in a dead-end job, he finds redemption when he becomes coach of his alma mater’s basketball team.
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He said of the character: ‘And with a role like that, I am an alcoholic, so I understood to a certain extent the alcoholism, but I haven’t lost a child.
‘This guy’s had a very different life from mine, but what was interesting about the story was I hoped people would find some catharsis in watching him go through something very difficult. I was concerned that I have to find ways to make this as realistic as possible.’
The Gone Girl actor has long fought his own battle against addiction, having gone through several rehabilitation programs since he was a teenager.
He opened up last week about a slip in his sobriety on the set of the 2017 DC superhero movie Justice League.
Affleck said on The Hollywood Reporter’s podcast Awards Chatter: ‘I started drinking too much around the time of Justice League, and it’s a hard thing to confront and face and deal with. I’ve been sober for a while now, and I feel really good — as healthy and good as I’ve ever felt.’
He recently explained the importance of portraying alcoholism with a sense of authenticity in The Way Back.
The Armageddon actor told Deadline: ‘I knew as a recovering alcoholic myself that people would make a conclusion about similarities to my life and the movie, so I didn’t want the movie to be false.
‘There are millions and millions of people who deal with compulsive behavior and addiction, so you have a certain responsibility. You have to do it authentically because these are important issues in many people’s lives.’