Movies & TV

‘Accountant’ Affleck delves into autism

Ben Affleck appears in a scene from "The Accountant." Chuck Zlotnick/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP

LOS ANGELES: Ben Affleck said he found his latest role as a blunt-speaking accountant and assassin refreshing after playing the tormented, weary superhero Batman this year. In “The Accountant,” Affleck plays Christian Wolff, a meticulous mathematical problem solver who leads an isolated life due to autism.

As a bookkeeper to criminal organizations, Wolff specializes in finding missing money and hunting down the thieves.

In the action movie, Wolff has trouble communicating with people, often being forthright without being emotional or confrontational, something that Affleck said he researched extensively, meeting with people living with autism.

“Some of the people I met and did research with were very blunt with me, and there’s something really charming about that,” he said. “You’re just going to get the truth from that person and it’s kind of winning in a way. There’s a little bit of that in Christian. He sees no reason for social niceties or to tell a white lie. He just tells the truth.”

Autism, formally known as autism spectrum disorder, can affect social skills and may include symptoms such as repetitive behaviors, extreme resistance to changes in routine, and sometimes aggression or self-injury. Approximately one in 68 children in the U.S. had autism spectrum disorders in 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Despite being a hit man in the film, Affleck’s character is a sympathetic figure, said Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who plays a government employee tracking Wolff’s criminal ties. “When you’re watching the accountant, you are feeling for him,” she said, “and caring for him and are hopeful for him, and that only works when you have a fully realized character.”

This is the second lead role for Affleck this year after he took up Batman’s cape and cowl in Warner Bros’ “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and its upcoming expanding superhero franchise.

“The Accountant” opens in Beirut-area cinemas Oct. 27.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 24, 2016, on page 10.

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