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In this interview conducted for the Herald, I chat to Ben Affleck about the challenges of playing a protagonist on the spectrum in the new action thriller co-starring Anna Kendrick, John Lithgow, JK Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jean Smart and Cynthia Addai-Robinson.

There’s never been a film quite like The Accountant. It’s an action movie, a mob assassin thriller, a character study and a martial arts story all rolled into one. There’s a remarkably restrained romance in there too.

But these disparate elements are not what makes the film unique—that has more to do with the fact that the title character—an ass-kicking maths genius played by Ben Affleck—is autistic.

It’s rare for a mainstream popcorn movie to embrace such a hot-button topic.

“For me the tricky thing was, you know, there’s a sort of political issue to autism,” Affleck tells TimeOut during a sit-down in Los Angeles. “Or Asperger’s, or ‘on the spectrum’ or whatever, there’s politically different schools of thought of how one even refers to it, so the issue’s a little bit fraught.”