Jennifer Garner convinced the director of Ben’s movie to wait while he was in rehab

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck team up to take their son to a party
Garner and Affleck on their son Samuel’s birthday last week
Ben Affleck is currently sober and promoting his new movie The Way Back, which is also serving as an art-imitates-life way for him to talk about his personal struggles and sobriety. It dovetails nicely with his redemption narrative, and it turns out it almost didn’t happen. Gavin O’Connor, the director of Ben’s film, talked to the official magazine of his alma mater, UPenn. He said that Ben approached him about directing the film after reading the script, that they had a heart to heart and Ben promised he could play the role. Then Ben went to rehab and the studio thought the movie wasn’t going to happen. Except Jennifer Garner, who was already in the process of divorcing Ben at that point, called him on Ben’s behalf and asked him not to scrap the movie.

As you’re alluding to, Ben Affleck has a history of alcoholism, recovery, and then relapse. I was wondering if you were at all concerned, going into this, of triggering a relapse?

GO: So what happened was, just as we started prepping the movie, Ben fell off the wagon. So he ended up going to rehab, and I didn’t know if the movie was over. The studio certainly thought the movie was over. 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.”

So, 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, 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.

It’s almost a counter–intuitive thing with acting, because he’s doing scenes that were obviously painful. Really intense and dark and bleak and suffering. And capturing that, to watch him do that was hard at times, but it also was euphoric, because that’s your job as an actor, is 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.

[From 34th Street via US Magazine]

Do you remember how Garner went out and talked to the paparazzi before driving Ben Affleck to rehab? It was like she was negotiating with them to take photos but keep their distance. It sounds like Ben asked her to do him this favor to call the director and she obliged. This latest news makes me wonder how many other messes she’s cleaned up for him behind the scenes. I appreciate that, at some point, she was sort of done with being the together one and taking care of Ben’s life for him, but it still seems like that’s their dynamic.

O’Connor also talked about Ben’s relationship with the young men who played the high school basketball players his character coaches. At first the teens were starstruck but they quickly got used to him. This film has an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes and while I probably won’t see it in the theater I will definitely rent it. It sounds decent and all this promotion is working on me.

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck team up to take their son to a party



photos credit: Backgrid and

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27 Responses to “Jennifer Garner convinced the director of Ben’s movie to wait while he was in rehab”

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  1. Justwastingtime says:

    Sad. My mother is struggling with the disease later in life and it’s had a hellish impact on my father… hope that Jennifer is getting help.. the caregiver is under such strain.

  2. Veronica S. says:

    She cleans up his messes because unfortunately he’s a celebrity who is very good at being a public f*ckup. That means it comes back on her and kids no matter what she does. I do hope that if she remarries, she finds a guy willing to stand up for what’s best for her and intervene when they fall into those toxic dependency habits.

    • Meg says:

      Jen likes being famous and her work doesn’t get her nearly as much attention as her personal life does. More paparazzi pics of her than nearly any other celeb I can think of

      • Nikki says:

        Jennifer is an extremely kind person, skeptical as folks may be. My son worked for Save The Children, and she worked hard, was super professional and considerate to everyone, and really related compassionately to people far and wide in dire circumstances. You really get to know people well when you are seeing truly heartbreaking poverty, starvation, and disease on outreach trips.

  3. Enny says:

    This movie sounds like an artsy “ends justify the means” kind of project. Like other actors who have used recent, raw trauma to fuel powerful, award-worthy performances. I’m sure his role was powerful and many scenes will be beautiful and authentic. The way this guy talks about it, though, how they literally took Ben straight from rehab to set and stuck him in front of a camera and filmed his literal,
    painful re-entry to society, just seems so exploitative to me.

    • Call_me_al says:

      I agree, picking him up from rehab and taking him to a movie set? Dangerous and irresponsible.

  4. Originaltessa says:

    My take is that Jen is probably terrified of the person Ben becomes when his career is in free fall, (drinking, angry, despondent, depressed) so she does everything in her power to keep him happy. This is typical behavior of someone that has dealt with someone like Ben. Whatever it takes to keep them from flying off the rails.

    • TheOtherSarah says:

      Well, we know he harasses and assaults women when his career is on the rail so…

  5. TheOtherSarah says:

    I’m sorry but does anyone remember that this guy assaulted or harassed at least three women – that we know of – including two during one single night?? Does anyone remember that he protected his baby bro during the whole award season, ensuring him a smooth sail towards the Oscar??
    If you want to feel sorry for someone, read about the number of survivors of sexual assault who use and abuse alcohol as a way of coping with what happened to them.
    F**k him and his redemption narrative!

  6. Case says:

    I know she doesn’t always get much love here, but I think Jennifer Garner is genuinely a sweet person and great mom from everything I’ve seen of her. She’s doing this stuff for her kids, not for attention. I’m sure this isn’t the kind of attention she wants. She wants her kids to have a dad who is well and has a stable job that keeps him from relapsing.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      yes, this. I said essentially the same below.

    • Evie says:

      This. She is a great strong woman, I appreciate her for that. He’s lucky to have her in his life.

    • HS says:

      Yes! Thank you for saying this. I feel like Celebitchy always paints Jennifer Garner in a victim mentality but I think she’s truly trying to do what’s best for her children at the end of the day. And also, she fell in love and married this man, created what she hoped would be a forever-future with him. Even if she’s divorcing him it doesn’t mean she can’t feel hurt seeing someone she once loved struggling, and her trying to help as best as she can should be seen as a source of strength not victimhood.

    • Nikki says:

      Please read my comment earlier. You are right about her.

  7. whatWHAT? says:

    I will never not love that “here’s your damn burger” picture.

    I know a lot of people don’t like her, but I think she’s doing this because she genuinely cares about him, as the father of her children, a friend, and someone she was fully IN love with and will always love in some way. I would bet she’s probably like this will ALL of her friends. you need her and she’ll help if she can. but of COURSE she wants her kids’ father to be healthy and present for them.

    • Jerusha says:

      I like her and agree fully with your post.

    • FrenchGirl says:


    • Nottoday says:

      Totally agree.

    • AMA1977 says:

      That burger picture breaks my heart. Like she is so OVER HIS SH!T but she’s being adult, and compassionate, and scrambling to get him to rehab so her kids don’t lose the dad they love. I think if they didn’t have the kids, she’d have let him sink like a stone a decade ago, but she’s doing her best for those kids. And one thing he’s been right about in this whole press extravaganza is that he is very, very lucky to have her as the mother of his children. She will go to the ends of the earth for her kids, and he benefits from her devotion.

  8. Lisa says:

    Hope she’s getting help for her obvious codependency.

    • a says:

      I don’t think that’s fair to Jennifer. From what Ben has said in recent interviews, his drinking started to get out of control in 2011/2012 and Jennifer must have ‘covered’ for him initially. But since their separation, she has allowed him to spiral in public (which must have been very painful for her and the kids to watch) but was always there for him when he was ready to ask for help. That’s exactly what caregivers and addicts’ family members are advised to do.

  9. Jules says:

    she really is his mommy

  10. Carolnr says:

    Ben once said in a Playboy interview that Jen “gave him the courage to take risks in his career” & that “she’s the most important person to me.” I think he had also said that she was kind. I think that Jen will continue to help Ben for their children to be proud of their dad. Ben is so lucky to have an ex- wife that has his back & believes in him!

    • a says:

      He did say she was kind and I love that quote: “She truly is kind. She means no one any harm. She doesn’t have ill will for any person. She’s not competitive with other people. She’s not spiteful.” He laughs. “It’s one of those things where it becomes almost aggravating at times. Every time I go, ‘F– him!’ I see in her face that she just thinks that’s petty and small.”

  11. Jen is an angel on earth. I like that he’s vocal about losing a gem. I root for Ben.

  12. a says:

    She seems like a really compassionate, lovely person.