Ben Affleck is tackling personal demons in the new film, “The Way Back.”
Affleck stars as former high school basketball phenom Jack Cunningham, whose life hasn’t turned out exactly as he’d hoped. We’re introduced to Jack as a middle-aged man in the throes of alcoholism and depression that’s seemingly cost him a life with his wife (Janina Gavankar) and young son.
In the trailer, Affleck’s character takes swigs of beer while in the shower, drinks throughout the workday, and crashes his car while on a bender.
But when he’s tapped to return to his alma mater to coach the basketball team, he reluctantly accepts, putting him on a path to recovery and redemption as he forges relationships with the students and reconnects with his family.
“So proud of this one and the incredible team behind it. Here’s your first look at #TheWayBack, a story of endurance and redemption. In theaters this March,” Affleck wrote on Twitter Thursday.
The material hits close to home for Affleck, who has publicly struggled with addiction issues throughout this career.
The actor, who’s become increasingly vocal about his alcoholism, completed his third rehab stint in October. He revealed his entry into a 40-day treatment program in a heartfelt note on Instagram.
“The support I have received from my family, colleagues and fans means more to me than I can say,” he wrote at the time. “It’s given me the strength and support to speak about my illness with others. Battling any addiction is a lifelong and difficult struggle. Because of that, one is never really in or out of treatment. It is a full-time commitment. I am fighting for myself and my family.”
Affleck shares three children ― Violet, 13; Seraphina, 10; and Samuel, 7 ― with ex-wife Jennifer Garner.
The director recently acknowledged a “slip” in his recovery when he appeared to be inebriated after a Halloween party last month.
“It happens. It was a slip. But I’m not going to let it derail me,” Affleck told photographers in footage obtained by TMZ following the incident.
“The Way Back” is Affleck’s first film since leaving rehab, according to People. It’s also his second collaboration with director O’Connor, who also helmed the action thriller “The Accountant.
Affleck can next be seen in “The Last Thing He Wanted,” based on Joan Didion’s book of the same name, alongside Anne Hathaway, set for release in January. He also stars in the upcoming erotic thriller “Deep Water” from director Adrian Lyne.
Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.
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