Ben Affleck recently sat down with the Hollywood Reporter to discuss his upcoming movie, “Air,” his new role as a CEO of a production company, his family life, and everything in between.
Here are our five main takeaways.
1. Affleck’s upcoming film, “Air,” was made with Michael Jordan’s blessing.
The film, scheduled for release April 5, follows the creation and launch of the Air Jordan shoe line as a Nike employee tries to strike a deal with then-rookie basketball player, Michael Jordan.
Affleck, who directed and acted in the movie, met with Jordan throughout the production process. It was Jordan who pushed for EGOT-winning actress Viola Davis to join the cast and play the basketball star’s mother (“[Jordan] was like, ‘That’s my mom,’” Affleck said).
“This was me saying, ‘Mike, I’m not going to make the movie if you’re not cool with something about it. I just won’t do it. I want to know what’s important to you,’” Affleck said.
2. With Affleck’s new company comes work-life balance.
Affleck, along with his “Good Will Hunting” co-star and buddy Matt Damon, has founded a new production company, called Artists Equity. The company emphasizes sharing profits with crew members and production staff, not just actors and directors.
But another aspect of the venture is being able to stay in Los Angeles with family, he said. Affleck has three children, aged 11, 14, and 17, and shares custody with his ex-wife, actress Jennifer Garner.
“If I miss them, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life,” Affleck said in the interview. “And then I thought, ‘OK, well, if I’m in Los Angeles and I’m in an office and I’m doing this work, I can step out for the basketball game or the jazz performance.’ So I protect those things.”
3. “Justice League” almost broke him.
Affleck starred as Batman in a series of DC Comics movies beginning in 2016. The movies became repetitive, he said, but filming “Justice League” particularly took a toll. Affleck said he started drinking more and felt isolated from his family.
“That was the worst experience I’ve ever seen in a business which is full of some [expletive] experiences,” Affleck said. “It broke my heart.”
Needless to say, he won’t be directing any upcoming DC movies.
“Absolutely not ... I just wouldn’t want to go in and direct in the way they’re doing that. I’m not interested in that,” he said.
4. Most memes don’t bother the actor.
When it comes to memes, Affleck is following his wife Jennifer Lopez’s advice. Most recently, all eyes were on Affleck for his “resting sad face” at the Grammys. But despite the viral photos swirling online, the actor said he enjoyed the event.
“My wife was going, and I thought, ‘Well, there’ll be good music. It might be fun,’” Affleck said. “Like, I don’t keep up. My wife does, obviously. And yeah, it is your wife’s work event.”
Still, the actor said he’s “guarded” given past negative media attention.
“But anyway, so [Jennifer Lopez] tells me today, ‘Relax, be yourself. Have fun. You’re actually a fun guy who is real and genuine and you just seem so serious,’” Affleck said.
5. He has “world-class Boston” finesse at parking
Fittingly, Affleck paid tribute to his hometown — or at least, recognized Boston drivers have slightly different standards. The interviewer brought up a recent viral video which captures Affleck inching into a parallel parking spot on a Los Angeles street.
“Dude, you know how many people can get in that spot? That was world-class Boston finesse,” Affleck said.
Affleck insisted he didn’t block any of the cars passing by.
“Granted, I did decide maybe I’m not going to bump these people anymore ... they may view bumping the bumper differently than we did back home, but it was so [expletive] snug,” he said. “I’ve never gotten a spot that good.”
Kate Armanini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @KateArmanini.