Ben Affleck Did Not Kill One Snail On the Set of ‘Deep Water’

The film's snail wrangler says he was very tender with the gastropods

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 12: Ben Affleck arrives at the Los Angeles Premiere Of Amazon Studi...
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Allie Jones

Deep Water, starring former lovers Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas, is an erotic thriller about murder, handjobs, and a surprising amount of snails. In the film, which was released on Hulu this weekend, Affleck plays de Armas’s murderous husband, who picks off her boyfriends one by one all while keeping up a dank snail habitat in the couple’s basement. Why does his character like snails so much? Unfortunately, the film never makes that clear. But perhaps you’ll be relieved to know that no snails were harmed in the making of this slimy motif.

Entertainment Weekly landed the coveted first interview with the film’s snail wrangler, Max Anton, and he had a lot to say about Affleck, snails, and the sublime power of our all-knowing God (we’ll get to that last one in a minute).

“I showed Ben how to handle the snails,” Anton said. “I would put them directly on his hand. And then when the scene ended, I’d run up and take the snail off of his hand with my left hand and put a rag in his hand with the right hand so he could get the slime off.”

Sounds like a pretty good system. So how did Affleck interact with the snails? According to Anton, he was both conscientious and tender. “Ben was fantastic to work with,” he said. “He’s a great listener. And you can tell that when he does his scenes, he will take instructions. He understands them, and usually, he can nail it the first time. He was exceptionally good with my animals. We didn’t lose a single one.”

Phew. De Armas, on the other hand, was less eager to make snail friends. “She did not have to fake her look of revulsion,” Anton revealed. “I don’t know if she hated the snails, but she did not want to touch them … She said, ‘I’m not scared of it, I just think they’re gross.’ Despite being not okay with the snails, she did a great job too.”

Though the lead actors did their best handling the gastropods, Anton ultimately credited the Lord for the snails’ successful shoot. “These animals, you can’t train them,” he explained. “They don’t really have brains as we know them. And so before each scene, I’d step off for a minute and I’d pray about it. And I’d say, ‘Look, Lord, these are your animals.’ I just kind of gave it up to Him and they performed better than I could have possibly predicted.”