In Berlin to tout his latest film, Oscar-winning actor Casey Affleck said Friday that everyone “has had to do some sort of self-reckoning” and ponder how to “play a positive role” in the era of #MeToo and other movements highlighting the harassment and discrimination women have suffered in the entertainment and other industries.
He also said that his new film, “Light of My Life,” a dark survival drama in which a father fights to protect his daughter in a dystopian world, wasn’t a direct response to the #MeToo movement or his own situation since decade-old allegations of sexual harassment resurfaced in 2016. Affleck wrote, produced, directed and stars in “Light of My Life,” which world premieres at the Berlin Film Festival on Friday evening. Elisabeth Moss also stars.
“This was conceived and written and filmed…entirely before these were issues that people were talking about,” he said at a press conference alongside Anna Pniowsky, the actress who plays his daughter, and producer Teddy Schwarzman. “I think that’s important. I think that says a lot about the intentions that we had.”
Affleck has been largely quiet about the sexual harassment allegations, dating back to 2010, that resurfaced during the 2016 Oscar campaign for “Manchester by the Sea.” The actor, who won an Academy Award for his lead role in the Kenneth Lonergan drama, publicly apologized last summer for behavior that he acknowledged contributed to an unprofessional environment on the set of “I’m Still Here.” Two women working on that film filed separate sexual harassment lawsuits against Affleck, which were settled in 2010.
Reflecting on the broader impact of social-justice movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up, Affleck said Friday: “I think everyone out there has had to do some sort of self-reckoning and think about culturally what part they play, and how they can play a positive role.”
He also disputed some of the allegations that were made against him. “If you work in movies, your private life is vulnerable to all sorts of things – people saying all kinds of stuff about you, people following you around with cameras, all kind of unpleasantness,” he said. “And it comes with the territory.”
As a father of two young sons, Affleck said it was “definitely difficult at times” dealing with the scrutiny.
“I’ve developed some pretty thick skin. But then you have kids, and they don’t have such thick skin, and you have to do a lot of explaining to them about the world prematurely,” he said. “It’s given me pause in my career and made me wonder to what I extent I actually do want to pursue a career now, or wait till they’re older.”