Ben Affleck stars in The Way Back as Jack Cunningham, a former high school basketball star who was set for glory with a full university scholarship. For reasons unknown Jack left the game and ultimately shut out his friends and family. His big shot at redemption comes when he’s asked to coach at his alma mater.
Basketball movies (most notably Hoosiers) are a fixture in cinema, but one reason why The Way Back could work lies in the collaboration between director Gavin O’Connor and Ben Affleck. The duo hit a creative home run with their 2016 effort The Accountant, and O’Connor has helmed two memorable sports pictures (Miracle and the woefully underrated Warrior).
“I think this movie is deeply inspirational,” said Affleck at the Los Angeles premiere of The Way Back. “It’s not hokey. It’s not preachy. It’s not like a lecture. I don’t want to see that. I don’t want to do that, but it is a story of about somebody who has gone through pain . . . I can’t imagine what it would have been like to go through that. It’s kind of like Good Will Hunting – how do you re-engage in life after suffering? How do you decide to live according to your values? How do you get past things that are really hard. And that I think is really important and valuable and meaningful to me.”
Click on the audio below to hear Ben Affleck talk about what made this role a challenging and resonant experience:
The Way Back, co-starring Janina Gavankar and Michaela Watkins, opens nationwide March 6.