"A lot of guys I went to high school with, who then went to colleges like BU and BC and got pretty good jobs working for companies and worked their way up, were going through exactly the same thing," Affleck said. "[They] had been laid off, were forced to find jobs that paid less, and were having trouble with house payments. So you know that something's very prevalent when you don't have to go to a specialist to research it, you can just look at your own friends.
"On one hand, we felt like the movie might be hard to get people to come see because you think, 'oh geez, this is going to be really depressing,' but in fact it's about something that I think is important and I haven't been able to say that very much. And also, it's redemptive. It's about the power of Americans to struggle through things and reboot their lives. And hopefully the end is emblematic for what will happen in American industries -- a kind of re-growth, re-generation, re-direction, and it'll lift us out of this."
He loved both experiences, and learned there's a lot to enjoy when he's "only" being the star.
"It was really nice to all of a sudden feel like when all the problems arise, and everybody's panicking to just go, 'I'll be in my trailer. If you guys figure it out, great. If not, I'll be reading a book,'" said Affleck. "You're responsible just for your own performance, and this very narrow set of issues that just involve kind of what you're doing as opposed to when you're directing, you know, any time a light falls down it's your problem."
"The Company Men" is in theaters Friday, Dec. 10.