Ben Affleck says Robin Williams taught him how to be a star on ‘Good Will Hunting’ set

After nearly 25 years, Good Will Hunting still retains its spot as a classic, and it’d be no overstatement to suggest that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck owe a huge deal of that success to the late Robin Williams.

To many people, the legendary star was first and foremost a comedian, perhaps one of the greatest in history. To others, though, Williams was an actor who truly embodied every role he took on, working on every aspect of each character to the point of flawlessness that few performers today could aspire to imitate, and even fewer could achieve.

1997’s Good Will Hunting tells the story of a mathematical prodigy named Will Hunting (Matt Damon) who struggles with his responsibility as an adult and a traumatic past as an orphan that gets in the way of his ambitions, relationships, and natural aptitudes.

Williams, meanwhile, depicts Dr. Sean Maguire, an acclaimed therapist who plays the role of a much-needed mentor figure in Will’s life. The wisdom that Sean, embodied by the late actor, channels in every interaction has turned many of Good Will Hunting‘s sequences into some of the most iconic moments in cinema history, so far as the mentor/pupil trope is concerned.

Now, actor Ben Affleck, who co-wrote the film and starred in it as Will’s best friend Chuckie, is taking on a mentor role of his own in The Tender Bar. Affleck recently reflected on his experience working with Robin Williams in conversation with Jake Hamilton on his YouTube show Jake’s Takes.

“I loved Robin,” Affleck said. “He was the first person that I really met or knew who was, like, ‘famous.’ And we had just written this movie, and it was sort of amazing that it got made, and then Robin Williams–who was probably the biggest star around at that time–was in the movie. I mean, he did so much for us by believing in us and doing that movie, and also by how warm and lovely and how kind he was and collaborative. And I just thought, well if this guy can do it, and be kind to people and collaborate and work with people and care about them, and listen to them, I certainly can. You know, he was a really extraordinary, kind, loving guy and that to me is the legacy of Robin. That’s what his comedy was rooted in, kind of a basic goodness and humanity. I wish I had known him my whole life. I didn’t have that opportunity growing up, but when I did meet him, I was a pretty young guy. I was 24. It made a massive impression on me and I thought, okay, that’s how you do this. I’m going to spend my life trying to live up to this example.”

The Tender Bar, coming out on December 17, tells the tale of a young boy who grows up without a father and connects with his uncle Charlie (Ben Affleck) instead, so you can see why he decided to bring up Williams while promoting the new film, who, according to him, was his biggest source of inspiration when starting out as an actor. Though it seems having that effect on people is a pattern when Williams is involved.