As for why Ben decided to keep distance from his co-star until the last minute, the Hell or High Water actor recalled a certain energy from Will that led to that decision.
“The first day of set was staggering,” Ben shared during the Red Table Talk episode. “I was walking past men in chains, and in situations of such tremendous violence. And then I felt him. I didn’t see him, I felt him. It was Will on set. But it wasn’t Will Smith as we know him. It was a man, and that man was vibrating. It’s animal stuff. It’s hard to explain.”
Ben continued, “But I could feel the presence of this man who was digging deep. And I passed him, and I felt, well, I’m gonna give him his space.”
And although he didn’t speak with the 54-year-old much behind-the-scenes, Ben noted he has a great respect for Will and the way his talent delivered.
“This is a performance that speaks to the human spirit against all odds,” Ben said. “To fight for love. The fight of faith, the fight to endure and endure for love. I’m blown away by what Will Smith did in this film.”