Tuesday April 23rd, 2019 2:12AM

AP Exclusive: Casey Affleck opens up in the wake of #MeToo

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Casey Affleck has been mostly absent from the public eye for the past year, but in the wake of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements and with a new film coming out this fall, he is for the first time addressing lingering questions about earlier harassment allegations.

The 42-year-old actor, producer and director is taking responsibility for the "unprofessional" atmosphere on the set of 2010's "I'm Still Here" that led to civil lawsuits from two women who worked on the film. He also spoke to The Associated Press about what he's learned from the #MeToo conversation and what he's doing at his production company to bring new voices into Hollywood.

During Affleck's best actor campaign for "Manchester By the Sea" in 2016, the spotlight was turned back on the civil lawsuits filed by a cinematographer and a producer who worked on "I'm Still Here" for breach of contract. One of the women also sued for sexual harassment, and both described an uncomfortable atmosphere on the set of the unconventional mockumentary.

"It was an unprofessional environment ... the buck had to stop with me being one of the producers and I have to accept responsibility for that," Affleck told the AP of the making of "I'm Still Here," which he produced and directed. "I contributed to that unprofessional environment and I tolerated that kind of behavior from other people and I wish that I hadn't."

He added: "I behaved in a way and allowed others to behave in a way that was really unprofessional. And I'm sorry."

Although the lawsuits were settled out of court, Affleck's name in 2016 and 2017 became associated with a long list of men who have abused power in Hollywood. While Affleck has addressed the lawsuits, including in an AP interview from July 2017 , he also has not spoken publicly since #MeToo and Time's Up overtook the culture ten months ago.

In that time, Affleck also opted out of presenting the best actress award at the Oscars — traditionally the responsibility of the previous year's best actor winner. Instead, Jodie Foster and Jennifer Lawrence handed the trophy to Frances McDormand.

"I think it was the right thing to do just given everything that was going on in our culture at the moment," Affleck said. "And having two incredible women go present the best actress award felt like the right thing"

Affleck said he's been learning a lot in the past few years listening to the conversation and has moved away from a place of defensiveness to one of finding his own culpability.

"I think bigger picture, in this business women have been underrepresented and underpaid and objectified and diminished and humiliated and belittled in a bazillion ways and just generally had a mountain of grief thrown at them forever. And no one was really making too much of a fuss about it, myself included, until a few women with the kind of courage and wisdom to stand up and say, 'You know what? Enough is enough,'" Affleck said. "Those are the people who are kind of leading this conversation and should be leading the conversation. And I know just enough to know that in general I need to keep my mouth shut and listen and try to figure out what's going on and be a supporter and a follower in the little, teeny tiny ways that I can."

Of his decision to do an interview now, Affleck said, "If I'm not promoting a movie, I'm not going to do any press, so that's why you haven't heard from me."

He's also taking these lessons both to work and home to his two sons, who are ages 14 and 10.

"I want to be in a world where grown men model compassion and decency and also contrition when it's called for, and I certainly tell (my sons) to own their mistakes when they make them," he said.

Over the past year, Affleck has been spending time with his kids and girlfriend, and hard at work on various projects, including "The Old Man & The Gun," a kind-hearted film where he plays a cop trying to track down an older bank robber, played by Robert Redford. He also has directed a film, "Light of My Life," a father-daughter story co-starring Elisabeth Moss which he said some people will see soon.

"The Old Man & the Gun," his third collaboration with director David Lowery, will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival before opening in theaters on Sept. 28.

"(Lowery) always assembles a really nice group of people around him," Affleck said. "It sort of makes its way into the movie. It's such a nice experience to watch one of his movies."

At his production company, Sea Change Media, he said he and his development partner Whitaker Lader are looking to shepherd filmmakers with stories that aren't well-represented in Hollywood.

"It's nice to be able to take the teeny tiny bit of experience that she and I have and use it to help other people get started," Affleck said. "There's really no better feeling than that."


A Q&A and Video of this interview are available here:

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Entertainment, AP Online Movies News
© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Jury awards $289M to man who blames Roundup for cancer
Lawyers say a jury's $289 million award to a California man who claims Monsanto's Roundup weed killer gave him cancer may open the floodgates for legions of people suffering because of the agribusiness giant
5:45AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Memo shows Kavanaugh resisted indicting a sitting president
Newly released documents from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's time on the Ken Starr team investigating Bill Clinton reveal his resistance to issuing an indictment of a sitting president
5:38AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Last-minute technical problem delays NASA's flight to sun
A last-minute technical problem has delayed NASA's unprecedented mission to the sun
4:59AM ( 56 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Crews battle growing wildfire near homes in California
Crews are working furiously to keep a Southern California wildfire from burning more homes south of Los Angeles while firefighters in the north have finally gained ground against destructive major blazes
2:05AM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Sheriff: Man who stole plane was 'suicidal'
Sheriff's officials say a man who stole an Alaska Airlines plane from an airport in Washington state was "suicidal" and there is no connection to terrorism
1:20AM ( 4 hours ago )
Activists rally against hate on Charlottesville anniversary
Police are blocking off streets and mobilizing hundreds of officers for the anniversary of a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, alarming activists who plan to rally against the hatred that shocked the nation
12:26AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP National News
New Mexico compound littered with ammunition, dirty diapers
A property owner in the New Mexico town where five adults were arrested on child abuse charges and remains of a boy were found is questioning why the adults' living compound wasn't searched earlier by authorities
11:29PM ( 6 hours ago )
In Iowa, Stormy Daniels' lawyer says Democrats must fight
Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels, is telling Iowa Democrats that the party needs a bare-knuckle fighter to take back the White House
11:10PM ( 6 hours ago )
NFL players emphasize reasons for anthem demonstrations
While the NFL continues discussions with the players' union regarding a national anthem policy, players who demonstrate are emphasizing they are protesting social injustice, racial inequality and systematic oppression.
11:10PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Kobach's take-no-prisoners style at forefront in Kansas race
Secretaries of state from middle America aren't generally household names. Kansas' Kris Kobach is the exception
7:28PM ( 10 hours ago )
California crews scramble to keep flames from reaching homes
Firefighters are trying to prevent a growing Southern California forest fire from reaching foothill neighborhoods a day after flames roared to new ferocity and came within yards of homes
7:13PM ( 10 hours ago )
St. Louis DA victory latest for Black Lives Matter movement
Ouster of veteran St. Louis prosecutor latest victory for Black Lives Matter voters, activists focused on the ballot
6:58PM ( 10 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Little-known Democratic 2020 hopefuls make early Iowa visits
In Iowa, the dozen or so little-known Democrats who have begun visiting the early presidential nominating state sometimes go unrecognized while the party's stars and rising national figures stay away for now to focus on midterms
12:31AM ( 5 hours ago )
Man linked to reality TV star Bethenny Frankel found dead
Authorities are investigating the suspected overdose death at Trump Tower of a man romantically linked to a reality TV star
8:55PM ( 9 hours ago )
Former All-Star pitcher Loaiza pleads guilty to drug charges
Former All-Star pitcher Esteban Loaiza pleads guilty to possession of about 20 kilograms of cocaine with intent to distribute
7:49PM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Macron, Putin talk about hunger-striking Ukraine filmmaker
French President Emmanuel Macron has told Russian President Vladimir Putin about his concern for a Ukrainian filmmaker who is on a hunger strike in a Siberian prison.
11:37AM ( 18 hours ago )
AP Exclusive: Casey Affleck opens up in the wake of #MeToo
AP Exclusive: With a new movie on the horizon, Casey Affleck opens up in the wake of #MeToo and Time's Up
8:16AM ( 21 hours ago )
Julia Roberts, reboots and diversity part of new TV season
Broadcasters, cable channel and streaming platforms paraded their upcoming shows at the Television Critics Association's summer meeting
7:30PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Movies News
Jury awards $289M to man who blames Roundup for cancer
Lawyers say a jury's $289 million award to a California man who claims Monsanto's Roundup weed killer gave him cancer may open the floodgates for legions of people suffering because of the agribusiness giant
5:45AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Last-minute technical problem delays NASA's flight to sun
A last-minute technical problem has delayed NASA's unprecedented mission to the sun
4:59AM ( 58 minutes ago )
The Latest: Plane stolen by airline ground service agent
An airline employee who stole an Alaska Airlines plane from a Seattle airport told air traffic controllers that he was a "broken guy" but also joked about whether the airline would hire him as a pilot if he landed safely
3:19AM ( 2 hours ago )
LEADING OFF: Dodgers await wait on Jansen, Arenado ailing
LEADING OFF: Dodgers await word on Jansen, Arenado ailing, JD Martinez tops 100 RBIs, Mariners beat Astros aces
3:12AM ( 2 hours ago )
Religion must obey Chinese law, paper says of mosque protest
A newspaper of the ruling Communist Party says no religion is above the law in China, urging officials to stay firm while dealing with a rare protest over the planned demolition of a massive mosque in the northwest
3:01AM ( 2 hours ago )