Casey Affleck addresses sexual misconduct claims, says he was ‘really unprofessional,’ and ‘he’ sorry.’
With a new movie coming out this fall, “The Old Man & The Gun,” Casey Affleck is in the public speak about the bending of the presentation of the best actress Oscar and past harassment allegations against him in the middle of #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.
In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Affleck reflects on the Oscars, the film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, and in the past harassment allegations against him in the light of #MeToo, apologizing for allowing an unprofessional atmosphere on the set, which led to two civil lawsuits from women he worked with who were later settled.
Excerpts from the interview, Affleck’s first interview in a year, have been edited for clarity and brevity. A video of the interview can be seen here: http://apne.ws/nJjWUgU .
AP: What do you like about this movie?
AFFLECK: I love David Lowery), I love working for David and it is my third film with him and he always assembles a great group of people around him. It is a fun experience to watch one of his films. They all have a very soft quality… And Robert Redford, what is there to say? He is a legend, a very sweet man and as sharp as a tack. It was wonderful working with him.
AP: The last time we spoke you were promoting a different David Lowery’s film, “A Ghost Story.” What have you done in the past year?
AFFLECK: I have “The Old Man & the Gun,” I have another movie called “the Light of My Life,” and I’ve just been spending the rest of the time with my kids and my girlfriend and just try to squeeze in a bit of life. And if I’m not promoting a movie, I’m not going to do it in the press, so that’s why you haven’t heard of me.
AP: YOU also earlier this year made the decision to step away from the presentation of the best actress award at the Oscars. Why did you do that?
AFFLECK: I think it’s the right thing to do just seen what was going on in our culture at this time. And with two amazing women are going to present the best actress award, felt like the right thing.
CASEY AFFLECK DIDN’T WIN THE BEST ACTRESS AWARD AT OSCARS
AP: During your best actor Oscar campaign for the “Manchester by the Sea,” allegations about two civil lawsuits from the making of the film “I’m Still Here,” that were settled in 2010. But we still have not heard from you since #MeToo and Time’s Up was a major talking point in the culture. Has made you think about or re-something about the experience or the atmosphere on the set?
AFFLECK: First of all, that I was ever involved in a conflict that resulted in a lawsuit is something that I really regret. I wish that I had found a way to solve things in a different way. I hate that. I had never had complaints like that made about me earlier in my life and it was really embarrassing and I didn’t know how to handle it and I didn’t agree with everything, the way I was described, and the things that were said about me, but I wanted to try to make it right, so we have the law in the way that was asked at the time. And we agreed to just try to get it behind us and move on with our lives, which I think we deserve to do, and I want to respect them because they respect me and my privacy. And that is that.
In the past few years, I listen a lot to this conversation, this conversation, and learned a lot. I moved to a place of defensive to a more mature point of view, looking for my own fault. And as soon as I did that I discovered there was a lot to learn. I was a boss. I was one of the producers on the set. This film was shot in 2008, 2009), and I was one of the producers. And it was a crazy mockumentary, (a) very unconventional film. The cast was the crew and the crew was kind of the cast and it was an unprofessional environment and, you know, the buck had to stop with me, one of the producers and I have to accept responsibility for that and that was a mistake. And I contributed to an unprofessional environment and I tolerate that kind of behavior from other people, and I wish I had not. And I regret a lot of it. I really did not know what I was responsible for the boss. I do not know whether I make myself the boss. But I behaved in a way, and allowed others to behave in a way that is really unprofessional. And I’m sorry.
CASEY AFFLECK ADDRESSES SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS, BEST ACTOR TO WIN CLEARANCE
AP: I know that you had the previous year over with the children to the women’s marches, and try to teach them. Is there anything that has come since #MeToo and Time’s Up, emerged in the culture?
AFFLECK: Well, I’ve taken these lessons with me is that I’ve learned, not only to work but to the house, and as daddy and informs how you age. I have two boys, so I want to be in a world where adult men model compassion and decency, and also repent when it is hot, and I am sure they tell themselves their mistakes, if they make them.
AP: You’re also a boss, you have a production company, Sea Change Media, and you indicated that your first film since “I’m Still Here”. Can you talk about how you have evolved and changed in order to create a safe working environment for the people who work for you?
AFFLECK: I think, there’s been a lot of talk about the new things related to the workplace and I have this production company, and very, very smart woman walks with me and she is way of the curve on all these points.
But I think that larger whole, in this business women are under-represented and underpaid and objectified and diminished and humiliated, and belittled in a bazillion ways, and just generally a mountain of grief thrown at them forever. And no one was really too much of a fuss about it, myself included, until a few women with the nature of the courage and wisdom to stand up and say, “You know what? Enough is enough.” These are the people who are kind of leading this conversation and lead the conversation. And I know just enough to know that, in general, should I keep my mouth shut and listen and try to figure out what’s going on, and a supporter and a follower in the small, tiny ways that I can. And we do that at our production company and I try to do it at home, and if I ever asked by anyone to help in any way and contribute, I would be more than happy to.
AP: Your “Manchester by the Sea’ director Kenneth Lonergan had implied that you had been unfairly treated. Do you have a comment?
AFFLECK: if I have or not, I think that there are people in the world who have to deal with much greater distress than that. And they do so without complaining. So I don’t think I need to say anything else about it.
AP: And in your company, what kind of projects are you looking for and what kind of filmmakers are you looking for the shepherd?
AFFLECK: Whitaker (Mp), who runs the company, has all the good work and when I make some noise on the sidelines. We try to find people who can tell stories that we don’t usually see in the mainstream pop culture, movies, media, Hollywood, with narrators who need a hand.