Ben Affleck, left, and the late Roger Ebert (Photo: Getty Images)
It stars Ben Affleck. And the review about it was Ebert's final thumbs-up.
During the film's premiere on Tuesday in Los Angeles, Affleck acknowledged that he had read Ebert's review. "I thought it was lovely," he told USA Today.
Affleck went on to tell a story about his last visit with the late critic. "I went and visited Roger last summer and talked about 'Argo.' I was in his home, and met his wife and saw how tough [conditions] were after his surgery. I was so moved by the cheerfulness that he had toward this, the sort of way that he bore that burden. I mean, for days after I left -- he gave me a copy of his book and I read it, I just was so inspired by that. By a guy who was fighting something that was really debilitating, and was so gracious and warm and loved life."
The 40-year-old director-actor, who won a best-picture Oscar for the very film he discussed with Ebert over the summer, revealed that the critic's passing was tough for him to learn about. "It just broke my heart to hear that he died," he said.
But Affleck also relayed his pride to have been included in Ebert's final piece of work. "And the fact that he wrote his last review of 'To the Wonder'; it was viewed through the prism of this wonderful man who was at the very end of his life. And to see the movie through that lens was one of the most powerful things to ever happen to me in my career."
Affleck, right, and Olga Kurylenko in 'To the Wonder' (Photo: Magnolia Pictures)
Another filmmaker also recently discussed a poignant visit with Ebert. But their relationship was a bit pricklier. Ebert famously slammed Alan Zweibel's 1994 film "North," starring Elijah Wood and Bruce Willis. "I hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie. Hated it," the late critic wrote. Zweibel was heartbroken over the pan. But more than a decade later, he had the chance to share a joke with Ebert -- whom he ran into in a Chicago restaurant. He told the late critic that he disliked his sweater, saying, "I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate that sweater." They both smiled, then laughed, then shook hands.
"To the Wonder," also starring Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem, enters theaters, in limited release, this Friday. (And "North" is available on Amazon.)
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