DETROIT (AP) – Ben Affleck said his time in the Detroit area, where he’s been filming the next Batman movie, has made a big impression on him.

The actor told the Detroit Free Press in an interview published Monday that he toured some factories where cars are built and was “moved by how American industry is actually employing American workers here in Michigan.”

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“I went and got a Ford and got a GM car and traded in Japanese cars that I had,” he said. “I know there are Japanese cars built in Kentucky now, and the world’s a complicated place and so on. It felt right. It felt right to contribute to the economic well-being of this area.”

Once fueled by the massive auto industry it gave birth to, Detroit filed for the largest public bankruptcy in U.S. history in 2013. Affleck has been exploring the region with his wife, Jennifer Garner, and said Detroit deserves more national attention for its economic struggles.

“It’s been really inspiring to see ways that people here are working and plugging away and rebounding and dedicating themselves to the city,” he said. “There’s this whole kind of spirit here of, `Hey, we’re on the comeback’ kind of thing.”

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In the interview, Affleck described his reaction to getting off a freeway blocked by an accident and seeing streets of boarded-up homes. Detroit has been working to deal with vacant and blighted buildings across the city following decades of population decline.

“I was just shocked that that even could be permitted to happen in the United States of America, that we weren’t doing more collectively to improve this, that we were allowing part of our country to languish in this way,” he said.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is scheduled for release in 2016. Affleck also stars in “Gone Girl,” a thriller out this fall.

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