The 47-year-old actor is playing a man battling alcoholism in his new movie, The Way Back, and said during a Q&A for the film in Atlanta on Wednesday that though he was sober while shooting the movie, he began to overeat.
Affleck noted that in order to portray "a guy who drinks a case of beer a day, you got to look like it," and so he "just let it go" and got up to 245 pounds.
"I just let it go, like totally let it go, like a gallon of ice cream at midnight watching, like, headline news or Unsolved Murders or something," he said of his eating habits.
Affleck pointed out that how he was eating mirrored how he used to drink alcohol. "I wasn’t drinking myself at the time so I couldn’t actually drink… and I’m not still. I’m not drinking, I’m sober, but I totally indulged in a very alcoholic way with food," he admitted. "It was about just eating as much junk and food and carbs. And I am a carb guy, like pizzas, breads."
The Oscar winner is now back down to 210 pounds but quipped, "Listen, it’s a lot easier to put on weight as you get older."
While Affleck has dealt with alcoholism like his character, he recognizes that addiction comes in different forms.
"One thing that I’ve noticed, it’s not really that there’s one thing that has to trigger the pleasure center of your brain,” he said. "It’s the fact that you need to do something to soothe your pain. And for a lot of people that is food. There is an obesity epidemic. These people are not physically hungry. They are eating because it stimulates the serotonin and dopamine and gives them a certain feeling."
Affleck added, "You know that there are 70,000 people who died this year from opiate overdose alone. That’s more people in a single year than have ever died from HIV or AIDS or guns. I mean, the issue of addiction is a real and serious problem in our society and I was glad to kind of take that on and address it but not in a way that was sermonizing and lecturing and all that because nobody wants to see that."
The Way Back hits theaters on March 6.