When Ben Affleck and Ezra Miller get together, jokes and serious banter ensue (part 2)
LOS ANGELES—In this Part 2 of our column on Ben Affleck and Ezra Miller, the fun banter between the “Justice League” costars turned somber when the topic was the sexual harassment allegations rocking Hollywood.
Like us, Ben (back as Batman) seemed impressed with Ezra (The Flash), who is 20 years younger, and sounds mature and passionate about the causes he believes in.
For his part, Ben—who has apologized for groping actress and MTV host Hilarie Burton in 2003 and appeared in a 2004 video that has gone viral in which he pulled Montreal TV host Anne-Marie Losique onto his lap (Losique has defended the actor)—was contrite: “I have to continue the process of evaluating my behavior and admitting to when I do wrong and trying to be the best version of myself, for my family, children and costars and the people I run into on a day-to-day life.”
Excerpts from our interview at the Rosewood London Hotel:
Ben, you have gone through a lot of changes in your personal life. How are you doing now? B: I am in a good place in my life, where I understand that the most important commitment that I have in my life is to my three children, and that the most important person in that life is the mother of those kids, who is Jennifer Garner.
She’s an amazing mom and lady—to be a mom, go to work, come home and still do three times as much with the school activities than I do. She shames me in that way. I admire her a great deal as a parent.
That is the focus of my life. Everything else orbits that. I love my career, my work and I don’t want to let it break into that sphere which I like to keep sacred.
Ezra, you started in indie films, trained to sing opera at 6, sang, played drums and percussion in a band. Do you plan to keep exercising those different artistic muscles? E: Oh yeah and more! Just wait till you see my finger paintings (laughs).
Brett Ratner, who is involved in this movie as a cofinancier, is accused of sexual harassment and assault. Can you comment? B: That kind of behavior on any level and any scale obviously is unacceptable. I don’t know the details of any of those people’s cases so I am not comfortable in discussing them individually. I will say that we all believe and stand with the brave women and men who have come forward to talk about what happened to them.
Vis-à-vis Ratner and this movie and past movies, financiers don’t really have to do with the actual production. So I don’t know Brett Ratner.
But it’s (sexual allegations) certainly turning out to be a galactic problem that extends well past Hollywood into finance, tech and the media. I am quite sure many of the countries are probably confronting some of the same things.
E: I am going to add some things to the words of Wonder Woman. Predatory behavior and the perpetuation of hetero-patriarchy on interpersonal level in this industry, “your wrath upon this world is over!” It’s deeply important that this time it will be taken seriously, that this be a concerted and consistent effort and not be reduced to hashtags or something that happens in the media.
B: Also as men, when you take responsibility, you need to look at your own behavior, think about how you are behaving and how you are treating people and when you are wrong, admit it and when confronted with it, try to monitor yourself and take responsibility. We, as men, need to take responsibility for ourselves.
How would it affect the way that you are dealing with people? Do you think it’s going to change the way Hollywood does business? B: There’s got to be a certain amount of terror struck in the hearts of people who are sexual harassers right now, thinking that they may be brought to task. I am thinking of my own self and behavior. I have to just continue the process of trying to get better, of evaluating my behavior and admitting to when I do wrong and trying to be the best version of myself that I can be, for my family, children and costars and the people that I run into on a day-to-day life.
You worked with Weinstein. Were you surprised with the sexual allegations? B: I have already talked about that at some length. I didn’t work particularly close with Harvey Weinstein and I haven’t worked with him for 15 years. I really didn’t like working with him. He was underhanded and duplicitous. I knew he was sleazy.
I didn’t know the terrible extent of his crimes but I knew that there was ugly s**t going on and I didn’t want to be part of it.
What are your goals these days? B: My goals are to work with people who enrich me, make me feel better and inspire me, like Ezra and others, and to tell stories that my kids will be proud of and to conduct myself in such a way that I can be proud of myself.
We see powerful people misbehaving. What are the pitfalls of being powerful and is power the ultimate aphrodisiac? E: Yeah, when there is power, there is no more illusion of neutral so everything falls to one side or another in the way that things cut dualistically in this world.
What I would say is that once there is that power, there is no longer hiding in a space that feels neutral, which I don’t think exists anyway. We are all very much a part of a living history together. So we are all accountable for everything we do.
B: Ezra said it very well. The powerful need to be really mindful of the fact that they have this power and that they may be wielding it and putting pressure on people that they may not even be aware of.
E: We also have a messed-up idea of what power is. It’s very distorted. We think that power is symbolized by having weapons or money. But we don’t have the power to sustain life on our own planet. Only nature has the power to do that. We keep fluffing up our own idea of power. But I don’t think we truly understand it.
Being movie stars, you are an example to a lot of people, especially kids. What would you like to be remembered for? E: I don’t think about it. Everything will be lost in the volcano (eruptions) and the fires if we make it that long. But in the short interim, I would like to think about seven generations before and I think about the planet.
I would like to be involved in a mass movement all over the world that accelerates the way that we are dealing with climate change.
That is what I usually think about when it comes to legacy and generational stuff. They are not going to care if we were cool and if we made cool films. They will care if they have clean water and clean air to breathe.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at http://twitter.com/nepalesruben.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.