ET: You are also in “Tree of Life” director Terrence Malick’s latest film, “To The Wonder.” What can we expect from that?
Affleck: This movie that we just did together — it’s very experimental. It’s out there. It’s like, you got to want some Malick with your Malick. It’s “The Tree of Life” without all the dialogue. I just say that because I want people to be ready, because the art looks really conventional — it’s me and Rachel McAdams, it looks like a sequel to “The Vow,” and it’s not that, at all. It’s an impressionist movie, a tone poem. He has this theory from Chekhov about relationships, where one is near and one is far. I always thought it was sort of a literary first-person device rather than a filmmaker device, but basically what it comes down to is the whole movie is an over-the-shoulder shot over me. And there’s this woman, I follow her and watch her and periodically I come into the frame to kiss her and stuff… and we didn’t have a script. We didn’t know what it was. There are things I really love about the movie and things I still don’t understand. But I really am glad someone’s out there making their own movies. Like when I make a movie I’m thinking ‘Ah, is the audience going to like this, will they understand this, how will this play in Middle America,’ all these insecurities. I don’t think that ever crosses Terry’s mind. He makes his movie, you’re along for the ride, and it’s a great experience.”
ET: What are the difficulties you find in balancing both acting and directing in the same film?
Affleck: “When I’m dedicating myself and my energy to doing something that I am really passionate about, naturally the actor part of me goes, ‘I want to be in this movie! You need to hire me!’ And I have, so far. The thing about acting and directing is that it is complicated. As a director, it demands a lot of your mental space. So the acting can kind of eat in to that stuff, and you end up not having thought about something because you were thinking about what you’re doing in the scene. But those complications are overridden by my need to give myself a job.”