Ben Affleck

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Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck SDCC 2014 (cropped).jpg
Affleck at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con
Born Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt
(1972-08-15) August 15, 1972 (age 42)
Berkeley, California, U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, film director, screenwriter, producer, activist
Years active 1981–present
Spouse(s) Jennifer Garner (m. 2005)
Children 3
Family Casey Affleck (brother)
Awards Ben Affleck awards

Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt (born August 15, 1972), better known as Ben Affleck, is an American actor, film director, screenwriter and producer. He has received two Academy Awards, for writing and producing, and three Golden Globe Awards for his work as a director, writer, and producer.

Affleck began his career as a child actor, starring in the PBS educational series The Voyage of the Mimi (1984, 1988). He later appeared in Dazed and Confused (1993) and various Kevin Smith films including Chasing Amy (1997) and Dogma (1999). Affleck gained fame when he and childhood friend Matt Damon won the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting (1997). He then starred in high-profile films including Armageddon (1998), Shakespeare in Love (1998), Pearl Harbor (2001), Changing Lanes (2002) and The Sum of All Fears (2002). After a career downturn, during which he appeared in films including Daredevil (2003), Affleck received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in Hollywoodland (2006). His directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone, which he also wrote, was critically acclaimed in 2007. He then directed, wrote and starred in The Town (2010), which was both a critical and commercial success. For Argo (2012), which he directed and starred in, Affleck won the Golden Globe Award and BAFTA Award for Best Director, and the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and BAFTA Award for Best Picture. In 2014, he starred in the thriller Gone Girl. In 2016, Affleck will portray Batman in Batman v Superman, and will direct, write and star in Live by Night.

Affleck is the co-founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, a grantmaking and advocacy-based nonprofit organization. He is also an outspoken member of the Democratic Party. His younger brother is actor Casey Affleck, with whom he has worked on several films including Good Will Hunting and Gone Baby Gone. Following high-profile relationships with Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez, Affleck married actress Jennifer Garner in 2005. The couple have three children.

Early life[edit]

Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt was born in Berkeley, California.[1][2] He has English, Scottish, Irish, German, and Swiss ancestry; the surname "Affleck" is of Scottish origin.[3][4][5] His parents named him Géza for a Hungarian friend who survived the Holocaust.[6][7] The family moved to Massachusetts when he was two;[8] living in Falmouth, where his brother Casey was born, before settling in Cambridge.[9] His mother, Christopher Anne "Chris" (née Boldt),[10] was raised on New York's Upper East Side by her mother Elizabeth (née Roberts), director of public information at the Museum of Modern Art for over thirty years,[11][12] and her mother's second husband, Samuel Shaw, an attorney.[13][14][15][16] Chris's father, O'Brien "Obie" Boldt, was a Democratic activist and professor of political science at the City University of New York.[17][18][19][20] Chris was educated at Radcliffe College and Harvard University,[21][22] was a Mississippi freedom rider in the 1960s, and taught at The Brearley School before becoming a public elementary school teacher.[23][24]

Affleck's father, Timothy Byers Affleck of Rhode Island, was an actor and stage manager with the Theater Company of Boston in the mid-1960s[25][26][27] and worked alongside Dustin Hoffman,[28][29] Robert Duvall, Blythe Danner,[30] Jon Voight[31][32] and James Woods.[33][34] During Affleck's childhood, he worked as an auto mechanic,[8][35] a carpenter,[36] a bookie,[31][37] an electrician,[30] a bartender[38] and a janitor at Harvard University.[2][39][40][41] While Affleck has described his father as a "very smart guy",[42] his chronic alcoholism often made Affleck's childhood "scary and trying."[6][30] His parents divorced when he was eleven and Affleck was raised by his mother.[7][33] His father's life "hit the skids" in Affleck's teens.[6][31][43] When Affleck was sixteen, his father moved to Indio, California, completed rehab, became an addiction counselor and later reconnected with his adult sons.[30][44][45][46]

Affleck was raised in a politically active, "very left-wing" household in the Central Square area of Cambridge.[31][47][48] Affleck and his brother were surrounded by people who worked in the arts, were regularly taken to the theater by their mother, and were encouraged to make their own home movies.[9][49][50] The brothers auditioned for roles in local commercials and film productions because their mother was friends with a casting director.[38][51] David Wheeler, another family friend, was Affleck's acting coach and later described him as a "very bright and intensely curious" child.[52][53] Affleck had acting jobs from the age of seven.[54] His mother saved his wages in a college trust fund and only allowed him to audition during school holidays.[9][33][33][47][55] When Affleck was thirteen, he filmed a children's television program in Mexico. He spent a year traveling around the country with his mother and brother and learned to speak Spanish.[9][56][57][58] Affleck later said that he has mixed feelings about his experiences as a child actor.[9][59][60][61]

At age eight, Affleck became friends with ten-year-old Matt Damon, who lived two blocks away and had recently moved back to the area.[62] Their mothers, who both worked in education and were acquaintances, made the introduction and encouraged them to spend time together.[63][64] Their circle of friends included Casey Affleck and future screenwriter Aaron Stockard.[51][65] The pair became extremely close while high school students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin.[9] Although they were in different grades, they had "identical interests" and spent their lunch breaks discussing their plans to become actors.[9][63][66] Both were greatly inspired by their high school drama teacher Gerry Speca, who encouraged them to write their own plays.[67][68][69] Affleck and Damon had many summer jobs together, working as construction workers and cinema ushers.[65][70][71] As teenagers, they traveled to New York for acting auditions, saving money for train and airline tickets in a joint bank account.[66][72]

While Affleck had high SAT scores,[33][47] he was an unfocused high school student with poor attendance.[6][33][73] He was accepted by the University of Virginia but instead followed a girlfriend to the University of Vermont, where he took Spanish classes.[47] He left the university months later with no credits, after fracturing his hip and realizing his love was unrequited.[74] He then moved to Los Angeles, studying Middle Eastern affairs at Occidental College for a year and a half.[75][76][77] He dropped out when a creative writing professor ridiculed an early draft of the Good Will Hunting screenplay.[31][78]

Film career[edit]

1984–97: Child actor and Good Will Hunting[edit]

Affleck had acting jobs through his childhood "but not in the sense that I had a mom that wanted to take me to Hollywood or a family that wanted to make money from me ... I kind of chanced into something."[79] He first appeared, at the age of seven, in Dark Side of the Street, a local independent film directed by a family friend.[55][80] Other early work included a Burger King commercial,[69] a 1986 ABC after school special called Wanted: A Perfect Man[81] and a Forest Whitaker-starring TV movie called Hands of a Stranger.[79] Alongside Matt Damon, he appeared in a commercial for T.J. Maxx[82][83] and as an extra in Field of Dreams.[84] Affleck's biggest success as a child actor came as the star of the PBS children's series The Voyage of the Mimi (1984) and The Second Voyage of the Mimi (1988), produced for sixth-grade science classes. From the ages of eight to fifteen, Affleck worked "sporadically" on the shows in Gloucester, Massachusetts and Mexico.[79]

Affleck briefly moved to New York after high school in search of acting work.[79] Later, while studying at Occidental College in Los Angeles, Affleck directed student films including I Killed My Lesbian Wife, Hung Her on a Meat Hook, and Now I Have a Three-Picture Deal at Disney,[85][86][87] written by and starring Affleck's longtime friend Jay Lacopo.[88][89] Affleck and Damon befriended other aspiring actors including Cole Hauser, Rory Cochrane and Matthew McConaughey.[90] The childhood friends lived together in apartments all over Los Angeles.[36] Affleck had a series of "knock-around parts, one to the next."[79] He was Patrick Duffy's son in Danielle Steel’s Daddy in 1991. He played a football coach in the swiftly-cancelled series Against the Grain, and a high school sportsman who abuses steroids in Body to Die For: The Aaron Henry Story. He made a brief appearance in the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Affleck had a role in Lifestories: Families in Crisis, as a steroid-abusing athlete. He starred in Glory Daze, which the New York Times described as an "affably mopey performance finds just the right balance between obnoxious and sad sack."[79][91]

Affleck had supporting roles as an anti-Semite in School Ties (1992)[92] and as a high school bully in Richard Linklater's cult classic Dazed and Confused (1993).[93] Linklater sought a likeable actor for the role. While Affleck was "big and imposing," he was "so smart and full of life ... I just liked him."[94][95][96] Affleck later said the most valuable lesson was how Linklater "empowered actors to improvise."[89][97] Affleck played another unlikeable character in Mallrats (1995) and began to worry that he would be relegated to "throwing people into their lockers for the rest of my career." However, he became friends with director Kevin Smith during filming. Smith then wrote Chasing Amy (1997) with Affleck in mind.[54][98] Affleck lived on the director's couch during production.[79] Chasing Amy was a landmark moment for the actor: "I hadn't had a real movie, a good movie that felt like the fulfillment of my dreams before that."[54][99] Janet Maslin of The New York Times praised the "wonderful ease" with which Affleck played the role, combining "suave good looks with cool comic timing."[100] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly found him "wholesome and quick-witted".[101] In 2007, he said Smith "is responsible for a great deal throughout my career."[99] He then appeared in Phantoms; while he was excited to work with Peter O'Toole, he has admitted the finished movie was "abysmal."[79] Chasing Amy and Going All the Way both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, with The New York Times describing Affleck as "a suave-looking actor whose flair for comic self-doubt made a strong impression."[102] Affleck has said the festival was "the most amazing experience. I will never forget how gratifying it was to feel like somebody actually saw something I did."[54]

Affleck came to national attention working with Damon in Good Will Hunting in 1997,[103] for which they shared writing credit and received the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.[104] They also starred in the film. Good Will Hunting's success transformed Affleck from a virtual unknown into a celebrity. The screenplay originated with Damon writing a 40-page script for Anthony Kubiak's playwriting class at Harvard. Damon asked Affleck to act out the scenes with him for the class and, when Damon later moved into Affleck's L.A. apartment, they began writing the script in earnest.[38][45][63] Affleck's father's life was an inspiration for the film.[36] Terrence Malick, a friend of Affleck's godfather, agreed to meet with the pair to give notes on their script.[62] Affleck has said that period in his life was "dreamlike": "It was like one of those scenes in an old movie when a newspaper comes spinning out of the black on to the screen. You know, 'Hundred Million Box Office! Awards!'"[74]

1998–2002: Blockbuster films[edit]

Affleck starred in Armageddon (1998) opposite Bruce Willis.[105] The film received mixed to negative critical reviews,[106] but was a box-office success, earning $553 million worldwide.[107] Daphne Merkin of The New Yorker remarked: "Affleck demonstrates a sexy Paul Newmanish charm and is clearly bound for stardom."[108] However, Ted Anthony of the Associated Press wrote: "As utterly charming as Liv Tyler is, and as affable as Affleck is, their romance just doesn't work. The scenes between them are the most excruciating of the film."[109] Affleck later described Armageddon as a "magical", ""Hey, I've made it" experience.[110]

In 1998, he had a supporting role as an arrogant English actor in Shakespeare in Love, starring his then-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow. Lael Loewenstein of Variety remarked that Affleck "does some of his very best work, suggesting that comedy may be his true calling."[111] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone noted that Affleck mined the role "for rich laughs."[112] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly found he "shows a potent new comic force"[113] while Janet Maslin of the New York Times found him "very funny."[114] Laura Miller of Salon commented: "To my own enduring surprise ... he’s so commanding a presence, such a delight to watch, that the rest of the perfectly fine performers get perceptibly drabber in his company. That, you think with a start, is a movie star."[115] Shakespeare in Love won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, while the cast won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast.

In 1999, he starred opposite Sandra Bullock in the romantic comedy Forces of Nature, playing a groom-to-be whose attempts to get to his wedding are complicated by his free-spirited travelling companion. Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly remarked that Affleck "radiates a sweetness that can't be faked ... He has the fast-break charm you want in a screwball hero."[116]Joe Leydon of Variety praised "his winning ability to play against his good looks in a self-effacing comic turn."[117] However, Janet Maslin of the New York Times found him "without enough of a Cary Grant aura to play his wimpier character with style."[118] He then starred in 200 Cigarettes.

He next starred in Bounce with girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow.[119] Stephen Holden of The New York Times praised "the understated intensity and exquisite detail of his performance ... This actor, with his beseeching hound dog look and trembling lower lip, never becomes mawkish. His portrait of a young, sarcastically self-defined "people person" who isn't half as confident as he would like to appear is close to definitive."[120] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly said Affleck does "his most winning and emotionally dynamic screen work to date."[121] However, while Todd McCarthy of Variety found the actor convincing as a "callow babe magnet to whom everything comes easily," his "unfailingly casual manner, boyishly eager-to-please eyes and modest approach to every dramatic possibility" meant his character's redemptive arc was unmoving.[122] He appeared in Reindeer Games (2001), directed by John Frankenheimer, who described Affleck as having "a very winning likable quality about him. I've been doing this for a long time and he's really one of the nicest - really one of the nicest."[123]

Affleck had a supporting role in Boiler Room.[124] Emanuel Levy of Variety praised his "bravura turn"[125] New York Magazine said Affleck "does a series of riffs on Baldwin's aria, and each one is funnier and crueler than the next."[126] However, A.O. Scott of The New York Times felt "Mr. Affleck's role -- to say nothing of his suit, his hair and his handsome hint of jowliness -- seems to have been traced over the outline of Alec Baldwin [in "Glengarry Glen Ross"]".[127] He provided the voice of Joseph in Joseph: King of Dreams (2000).

In 2001, Affleck collaborated with Armageddon director Michael Bay in the war film Pearl Harbor. The film opened to a mixed to negative reception,[128][129] but was a box-office success, earning $449 million worldwide.[130] Also in 2001, Affleck appeared in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Daddy and Them.

Along with Damon and producers Chris Moore and Sean Bailey, Affleck founded the production company LivePlanet in 2000, seeking to integrate the internet into mainstream television and film production.[131][132] The four created the documentary series Project Greenlight, as well as the failed mystery-hybrid series Push, Nevada, among other projects.[133] Project Greenlight was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Program in 2002, 2004, and 2005.[134][135]

In 2002, he was cast as Jack Ryan, a role previously played by Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford, in the fourth film in the techno-thriller series The Sum of All Fears. The movie, which ignored the story lines of the previous Jack Ryan films, also starred Morgan Freeman.[136] Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post wrote that Affleck and Freeman "create a believable chemistry".[137]

In the same year, Affleck starred opposite Samuel L. Jackson in the thriller Changing Lanes.[138][139] He later said the film was an "amazing experience," and that he learned from director Roger Michell.[79] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian enjoyed the "strongly acted two-hander ... Affleck particularly shows how convincing he can be as the besuited corporate asshole, a reminder of his excellent turn in Ben Younger's "Boiler Room"."[140] Robert Koehler of Variety described it as "his most thoroughly wrought performance since “Chasing Amy” ... the journey into a moral fog compels him to play more inwardly and thoughtfully than he ever has before."[141] However, Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times noted that, while Affleck has "the milk-fed good looks of a Kennedy, this is far from sufficient in a role that calls for some moral outrage ... He's game, but lacks depth; he's mopey."[142] Also in 2002, he appeared in The Third Wheel and was named Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine.[52]

2003–05: Career downturn and tabloid notoriety[edit]

In 2003, he starred as Matt Murdock/Daredevil in Mark Steven Johnson's film Daredevil (2003). Daredevil was Affleck's favorite comic book as a child[143][144][145] and, years earlier, he had written a foreword for a comic book about his love for Daredevil. Roger Ebert, reviewing Daredevil, wrote that both Affleck and co‑star Jennifer Garner were suitable for their roles.[146] Daredevil grossed over $179 million worldwide.[107] In 2014, Affleck said Daredevil was "only movie I actually regret ... It just kills me. I love that story, that character, and the fact that it got fucked up the way it did stays with me."[89] He also starred in Paycheck (2003).

Smiling young man with a trim goatee and moustache, wearing a white t-shirt and a baseball cap. He is surrounding by hands reaching out to him.
Affleck visiting the USS Enterprise (CVN‑65) in Manama, Bahrain, in December 2003.

Following Daredevil, Affleck starred in Gigli (2003).[147] Affleck has repeatedly defended director Marty Brest since the film's release, arguing that the film would have been a "noble failure" if studio executives hadn't ordered re-shoots to market it as a romantic comedy.[148] He has described Brest as "one of the really great directors" and Midnight Run as his favourite film.[149][150] He thanked Brest in his 2013 Oscar acceptance speech for Argo's Best Picture win.[151]

By 2003, Affleck had become, in the words of GQ, the "world's most over-exposed actor".[152] In February 2003, Affleck said the media attention surrounding his relationship with Lopez filled him with a sense of "dread ... People are going to grow weary of this."[144] An Off-Broadway play about Affleck and Matt Damon, written by and starring Mindy Kaling, characterised Affleck as "cute but dumb" and suggested that the screenplay for Good Will Hunting fell from the sky.[153] In 2003, the Wall Street Journal found that Affleck had an 82 percent recognition factor among members of the public, up from 75 percent the previous year. However, the percentage of people who don't like him also rose, from 12 percent to 18 percent.[154]

In 2004, Affleck starred in Surviving Christmas and Jersey Girl, directed by longtime collaborator Kevin Smith.

The Los Angeles Times published a piece on the downfall of Affleck's career during this period: "While the critics see Affleck as a big pinata and the tabloids see him as a reader magnet, few industry professionals seem to be gloating over Affleck's travails." Affleck's longtime agent Patrick Whitesell and various producers were interviewed, with Harvey Weinstein commenting: "He's one of the sweetest people I've ever met in this industry ... a great guy with an incredible personality and talent. I think the sky's the limit when he wants to focus. And he will."[155] Affleck then took a two-year break, later remarking that "the quality of scripts I was seeing was just getting worse and worse."[124] "I was a little bit exhausted of myself and my life, so I wanted to try to control it or manage it."[156] However, he has also stated that his transformation has been overstated: "I definitely reject the narrative that says, you know, Bad Guy Turns It Around. My life isn't Behind the Music. I wasn't a criminal!"[157]

2006–13: Critical acclaim as a director[edit]

In 2006, Affleck starred as George Reeves in the noir biopic Hollywoodland.[158] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone praised "an award-caliber performance ... This is feeling, nuanced work from an actor some of us had prematurely written off."[159] Geoffrey Macnab of The Guardian wrote: "He plays the part beautifully, capturing the character's curious mix of charm, vulnerability and fatalism."[160] Manohla Dargis of The New York Times found Affleck "more than up to the task" of portraying Reeves as a tragic figure but was dismayed that he had "given this exasperating film far more than it gives in return."[161] Claudia Puig wrote in USA Today that Affleck gives a "strong performance".[162] He was awarded the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival, won the Supporting Actor of the Year award at the Hollywood Film Festival,[163] and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.[164]

Affleck at Bruce Willis's Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in 2006

Also in 2006, he made a cameo in Kevin Smith's Clerks II. While Affleck remains a fan of Smith's work,[165][166] they have communicated mainly via email since 2005.[167][168] He starred in Man About Town, which was released direct-to-DVD. Following the success of Hollywoodland, he appeared in the action film Smokin' Aces (2007), playing Jack Dupree, a bounty hunter.[169] Smokin' Aces received mixed reviews from critics[170] and was a moderate success at the box office.[107]

Also in 2007, Affleck made his feature film directorial debut with Gone Baby Gone, a crime drama set in a working-class Boston neighbourhood.[171] Affleck co‑wrote the screenplay, based on the book by Dennis Lehane, with childhood friend Aaron Stockard. Affleck first mentioned his intention to adapt the story in 2003.[172] His brother Casey starred as a private investigator.[173] It opened to rave reviews.[174][175] Jim Ridley of the Village Voice remarked: "Affleck has created something of a blue-moon rarity: an American movie of genuine moral complexity."[176] In Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum noted that Affleck "shows excellent instincts" as a director[177] while Claudia Puig of USA Today described it as "an auspicious debut as a filmmaker."[178] Manohla Dargis of the New York Times praised the film's "sensitivity to real struggle ... Mr. Affleck doesn’t live in these derelict realms, but, for the most part, he earns the right to visit."[179] Similarly, Stephen Farber of The Hollywood Reporter praised the "thoughtful, deeply poignant, splendidly executed" film.[180]

Affleck appeared in Jimmy Kimmel's 2008 video I'm Fucking Ben Affleck, a response to a video by Kimmel's girlfriend, Sarah Silverman, I'm Fucking Matt Damon.[181][182] In 2009, Affleck returned to acting, starring in three features, He's Just Not That Into You, State of Play, and Extract. In He's Just Not That Into You, a romantic comedy, he was part of an ensemble cast that included Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson, Bradley Cooper, Justin Long, and Jennifer Connelly.[183] The film generated mostly mixed reviews,[184] but was a box-office success, earning $165 million worldwide.[107] In State of Play, an adaptation of the British television serial State of Play, Affleck played Congressman Stephen Collins. The film is a political thriller which explores the relationship between politicians and the media.[185] Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post said: "It could be argued that his wooden performance is ironically well-suited to his character, a speechifying, self-righteous politician on the rise."[186] Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times remarked: "Affleck struggles to give texture and depth to his compromised congressman."[187] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly said he played the role "with just the right touch of furrowed-brow cardboard nobility."[188] In the comedy film Extract, Affleck played Dean, a bartender, and the best friend to Jason Bateman's character.[189] His performance in the film was well-received. Manhola Dargis of The New York Times described it as "a real performance."[190]

Affleck on the set of The Town in 2010

In 2010, Affleck directed his second feature, The Town, an adaptation of Chuck Hogan's novel Prince of Thieves.[191] Along with directing and co-writing the film, he was part of the cast that included Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Chris Cooper and Blake Lively. Following the modest success of Gone Baby Gone, Affleck had met with Warner Brothers Pictures president Jeff Robinov, who gave Affleck his choice of the studio's scripts.[192][193] Affleck has described it as a "dream relationship": "I wasn't having those meetings with every studio."[193][194] A.O. Scott of the New York Times praised Affleck's "skill and self-confidence as a director."[195] Claudia Puig of USA Today remarked: "Affleck has a keen eye for cinematic stories ... He may be en route to master-filmmaker status."[196] Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post described it as "a smart, bold genre exercise that's enormous fun to watch ... with an assured sense of tone and style."[197] Roger Ebert noted: "Affleck has the stuff of a real director. Everything is here. It's an effective thriller, he works closely with actors, he has a feel for pacing."[198] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times praised his "genuine gift for directing."[199] Affleck was awarded the Chairman's Award in the 2011 Palm Springs International Film Festival.[200]

Also in 2010, he starred in The Company Men as a mid-level sales executive who is made redundant during the financial crisis.[201] His performance received positive reviews. David Denby of The New Yorker declared that Affleck "gives his best performance yet."[202] Scott Bowles of USA Today remarked that he "shines ... His accent is natural, and he shifts easily from Armani suits to overalls."[203] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly said: "This is one of those roles tailor-made for Affleck's fast-break charm, his ability to play a winner cruising at too high an altitude."[204] Richard Corliss of Time found he "nails Bobby's plunge from hubris to humiliation."[205]

Affleck at the Paris premiere of Argo in 2012

In 2012, Affleck directed his third feature film, Argo. The film, in which Affleck also starred, tells the story of a CIA operation to save six diplomats during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis by faking a production for a large-scale science fiction film.[206] Anthony Lane of The New Yorker said the film offered "further proof that we were wrong about Ben Affleck."[207] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly commented: "Affleck transforms its stranger-than-fiction hook into mainstream thriller poetry ... Having proved, with The Town, that he's a crackerjack director, Affleck now ups his game, applying a wizardly finesse to one of the darkest chapters of recent American history."[208] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times was impressed by Affleck's "instinct for storytelling."[209] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone remarked: "Affleck takes the next step in what looks like a major directing career ... He directs the hell out of it, nailing the quickening pace, the wayward humor, the nerve-frying suspense."[210] Andrew O'Hehir of Salon stated: "Affleck makes a quantum leap as a director here ... Tension, humor and drama are built up masterfully."[211] Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post declared the film proof of Affleck's "mettle as a director of genuine chops."[212] Argo won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Affleck was the first director ever who failed to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Director, yet went on to win both the Golden Globe and the Directors Guild of America awards for Best Director.[213] He also won the Critic's Choice and BAFTA awards for Best Director.[214][215][216][217]

Affleck starred alongside Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem, Rachel McAdams, and Rachel Weisz in To the Wonder (2013), a romantic drama written and directed by Terrence Malick.[218] Also in 2013, he starred in Runner Runner and received an honorary doctorate from Brown University.[219]

2014–present: Gone Girl and Batman v Superman[edit]

Affleck arrives at the 2014 SAG Awards

Affleck starred in David Fincher's adaptation of Gone Girl in 2014. He has said working with Fincher was "instructive and inspirational."[220] Nev Pierce of The Times wrote that Affleck gave a "remarkable, vanity-free performance."[221] David Edelstein of New York Magazine felt that Fincher's controlled style of directing had a "remarkable" effect on Affleck's acting: "I never thought I’d write these words, but he carries the movie. He’s terrific ... Affleck shows intelligence and sensitivity in interviews ... but some part of him holds back [on screen], and that’s the part on which Fincher homes in."[222] Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter praised a "beautiful balancing act of a performance, fostering both sympathy and the suspicion that his true self lies somewhere between shallow jerk and heartless murderer."[223] Justin Chang of Variety found Affleck "perfectly cast as Nick Dunne, bringing just the right golden-boy-gone-to-seed air to a character who is slowly deprived of his dignity and privacy, inch by cruel inch ... It's a tricky turn, requiring a measure of careful underplaying and emotional aloofness, and he nails it completely."[224] Cara Buckley of The New York Times praised Affleck's "raw, emotionally exposed" performance.[225]

Affleck will play Batman in the 2016 superhero film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.[226] The casting of Affleck as Batman met with backlash from fans of the character;[227] he has said that while he respects fans' "strongly held opinions", "I don’t think projections about something that hasn’t happened yet are all that meaningful."[228]

In July 2015, Affleck will begin filming his fourth directorial project, Live by Night, an adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel.[229] Affleck wrote the adapted screenplay for the "big, sweeping gangster-epic morality story."[89][230][231] The film, scheduled for release in late 2016,[232] will co-star Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller and Elle Fanning.[233] Also in early 2015, Affleck and Damon will begin filming the fourth season of Project Greenlight for HBO, a decade after the third season aired.[234] Their production company Pearl Street Films is named after the street that ran between their Cambridge homes.[235]

Affleck has a number of projects in development. In 2013, Affleck hired Will Staples to write a screenplay for a potential directing project – an Africa-set action movie which examines how philanthropy and foreign assistance veer into modern-day neocolonialism.[236] Other potential directing projects include a dramatisation of the Battle of Bunker Hill.[237] In addition, Affleck co-wrote a screenplay with brother Casey and David Mandel for the baseball drama The Trade, to be directed by Jay Roach,[238][239] and an unknown screenplay with Peter Morgan.[240]

Humanitarian work[edit]

Eastern Congo Initiative[edit]

Affleck began to explore the possibility of becoming more actively involved in philanthropy in 2007 and was drawn to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof's coverage of human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo.[241] He made numerous trips to the region to educate himself through meetings with "academics, philanthropists, people at NGOs, people who work on the ground, survivors."[242] During two 2008 trips, Affleck reported on the humanitarian crisis for ABC News Nightline[243] and directed a short film, Gimme Shelter, for the UN Refugee Agency.[244] He spoke at the Combating Global Poverty event during the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[245][246] In 2009, he wrote an essay for Time[247] and spoke at the Global Leadership Awards.[248][249] Affleck also served as the executive producer of the HBO documentary film Reporter (2009), which focused on Kristof's work in the Congo.[250] After five visits to eastern Congo between 2007 and early 2010,[251] Affleck developed "a clearer sense of what I wanted to do ... A lot of NGOs were doing fabulous work there [but] there was no US-based group working with strictly community-based organizations in eastern Congo ... It seemed to me that there was a tremendous power in the ability to change one’s life if you’re part of the community, if you have skin in that game."[242]

Theo Chocolate, stocked by Whole Foods, is made with Congolese cocoa beans

In 2010, Affleck and Whitney Williams co-founded the Eastern Congo Initiative.[252] Investors include Howard Graham Buffett, Google, Laurene Powell Jobs and Cindy McCain.[253] ECI supports "Africans finding solutions to African problems" by acting as a grant maker for Congolese-led, community-based organizations.[254] ECI, with two employees in the US and 12 in the Congo,[255] makes grants and offers capacity-building support to over 20 charities involved with supporting survivors of rape and sexual violence, reintegrating child soldiers into their communities, promoting economic opportunity, increasing access to health care and education, and promoting community-level peace and reconciliation.[254][256] One ECI grantee, Green House, offers training and resources to Congolese farmers.[257] In 2010, ECI partnered Green House-supported cacao farmers with Seattle-based company Theo Chocolate.[258] As of 2014, Theo is the biggest sourcer of cocoa beans in the Congo and donates a percentage of their profits to ECI.[259] In 2013, ECI collaborated with TOMS shoes to provide footwear for Congolese school children.[260] ECI has hosted high-profile fundraising events in the US, in collaboration with the Clinton Foundation and Matt Damon's Water.org.[261][262][263]

Affleck in 2011, testifying before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights

ECI also aims to increase focus on the issues impacting eastern Congo among policymakers and the media in the US and Europe.[264] In an effort to achieve this goal, ECI has released a number of publications including a white paper and a USAID-supported landscape analysis.[265][266] Affleck has made nine media-documented trips to Central Africa since 2007 and has discussed ECI's work in many television interviews.[267][268] In 2010, he wrote a column for The Washington Post,[269] contributed an essay to The Enough Moment[270] and appeared as a panelist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.[271] In 2011, Affleck and Cindy McCain, an ECI board member, testified before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights.[272][273] Also in 2011, Affleck was a speaker at the Global Philanthropy Forum.[274] In 2012, he spoke alongside Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Washington's Child Survival: Call to Action Forum and alongside Senator John McCain at the Sedona Forum.[275][276][277] He wrote op-eds for The Washington Post and Politico.[278][279] During the Kony 2012 campaign, Affleck wrote an essay for The Huffington Post. While welcoming increased awareness of the issue of child soldiers, he warned that Western 'saviours' are "ineffectual at best and deadly at worst" and stressed the importance of funding "remarkable local organisations."[280] Later in 2012, Affleck testified before the House Armed Services Committee and met with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.[281][282] In 2013, Affleck introduced the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste at a TED conference[283][284] and began developing an Africa-set action film which Deadline has described as "an examination of the moral ambiguities of how philanthropy and foreign assistance veers into modern-day neocolonialism."[236] Also that year, President of Rwanda Paul Kagame was photographed arriving at Affleck's Los Angeles home; Affleck had testified before Congress in 2012 about the Rwandese government's support of rebel groups in eastern Congo.[285][286] In early 2014, he and US Special Envoy Russ Feingold testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and met with Secretary of State John Kerry.[287] Affleck also spoke at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards, where Denis Mukwege was honored.[288][289][290]

Other charitable causes[edit]

Affleck has been a supporter of the A-T Children's Project since 1998. While filming Forces of Nature, Affleck struck up a conversation with an onlooker, ten-year-old Joe Kindregan, who has the rare disease ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T).[291] The disease combines symptoms of muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, immune deficiency and cancer, and is progressive. Affleck and Kindregan developed a friendship, communicating regularly via e-mail and phone.[292] Kindregan and his family have visited Affleck on many movie sets and attended many premieres.[293] Affleck is actively involved in fundraising for A-T[4][294] and, in 2001, Affleck and Kindregan testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education, asking senators to support stem-cell research and to double the budget of the National Institutes of Health.[292] In 2007, Affleck was the keynote speaker at Kindregan's high school graduation ceremony in Fairfax, Virginia.[295] Kindregan appeared as an extra in Affleck's Argo (2012).[296] In 2013, in celebration of "Joe Kindregan's 25th birthday as well as our 15 years of friendship with Joe and his family," Affleck and his wife Jennifer Garner matched donations made to the A-T Children's Project.[297] Also in 2013, he appeared in CinemAbility, a film documentary which explores Hollywood's portrayals of people with disabilities.[298][299]

Affleck during a USO-sponsored tour of the Persian Gulf in 2003

Affleck visited troops stationed in the Persian Gulf during a USO-sponsored tour in 2003[300] and is now involved with two charities which support the US Armed Forces: Paralyzed Veterans of America and Operation Gratitude. He first became aware of Paralyzed Veterans of America's work in 2008 after winning their charity poker tournament during the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[301][302] He held a Paralyzed Veterans of America benefit at the 2010 premiere of The Town,[302] and filmed public service announcements for the organization in both 2009 and 2014.[303][304] Affleck's support of Operation Gratitude began in 2007, when he appeared on Live with Regis and Kelly to raise awareness of their work.[305] In both 2007 and 2008, he volunteered at the National Guard Armory in Van Nuys, California, helping to put together Operation Gratitude care packages for overseas troops.[306][307]

Affleck speaking at a Feeding America rally in 2009

Affeck is a longtime supporter of Boston-based cancer charity The Jimmy Fund, making appearances at their Radio-Telethon in 2003, 2006, 2007, and 2009.[308][309][310][311] In 2010, he fundraised for the charity during the US premiere of The Town.[312]

Affleck is a member of Feeding America’s Entertainment Council.[313] He volunteered at the Greater Boston Food Bank in 2007[314] and helped pack food boxes at a Feeding America event in Denver in 2008.[315] In 2009, Affleck spoke at a Feeding America rally in Washington D.C.[316] He filmed a public service announcement for the charity in 2010.[317] In 2011, Affleck and Ellen DeGeneres launched Feeding America's Small Change Campaign.[318] Also in 2011, Affleck and Howard Graham Buffett co-wrote an article for the Huffington Post, highlighting the "growing percentage of the food insecure population that is not eligible for federal nutrition programs."[319]

Politics[edit]

Political views[edit]

Affleck is a member of the Democratic Party and has described himself as "moderately liberal."[320] He has appeared as a panel guest on Real Time with Bill Maher (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2014),[321][322] Hardball with Chris Matthews (2004, 2007, 2009),[323][324][325][326] Crossfire (2004)[327] and Larry King Live (2004, 2007).[328][329][330] He has also discussed politics in interviews on Channel 4 News (2012),[331] The O'Reilly Factor (2004, 2012),[320][332][333] The Rachel Maddow Show (2009),[334] Face the Nation (2012),[335] This Week (2012, 2014),[336][337] and NPR (2010, 2014).[338][339]

Affleck on the set of The Rachel Maddow Show in 2009

Affleck was raised in "a very strong union household."[340] In 2000, he spoke at a rally at Harvard University in support of an increased living wage for all workers on campus. Affleck, whose father and stepmother were janitors at Harvard, urged the crowd to "make this a school where you don't have to avert your eyes in shame when you see a janitor in the hallway."[341] He later narrated a documentary, Occupation (2002), about a sit-in organized by the Harvard Living Wage Campaign.[342] In 2004, Affleck and Senator Ted Kennedy held a press conference on Capital Hill, pushing for an increase in the minimum wage.[343][344][345] In 2007, he spoke at a press conference at Boston's City Hall in support of SEIU's unionization efforts for the city's low-paid hospital workers.[346][347] During the Writers' Strike in 2008, Affleck voiced support for the picketers.[348]

Affleck has argued in favor of universal health care.[349] In 2007, he filmed a public service announcement for Divided We Fail, a nonpartisan AARP campaign seeking affordable, quality healthcare for all Americans.[350]

Affleck has criticised the Bush tax cuts on many occasions.[351][352][353][354]

Affleck is pro-choice. In a 2000 interview, he stated that he believes "very strongly in a woman’s right to choose."[48] In 2012, he supported the Draw the Line campaign, describing reproductive rights as "fundamental."[355][356]

Affleck supports legalizing gay marriage, saying in 2004 that he hoped to look back on the marriage debate "with some degree of embarrassment for how antiquated it was."[357][358] Also that year, he remarked that it was "outrageous and offensive" to suggest members of the transgender community were not entitled to equal rights.[359] In 2005, he appeared alongside his openly gay cousin in a Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays print advertising campaign.[360][361] In 2013, he welcomed the Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8[362][363] and remarked that it was "to our shame" that gay couples cannot marry "in every state in the union."[364]

Affleck does not support the death penalty, saying in 2008: "As long we have a flawed system of determining guilt and innocence, I think capital punishment is a bad idea."[365]

Affleck is a supporter of the Second Amendment.[320][366] In 2003, he applied for a gun permit for skeet shooting in the state of Georgia, where he owns a home.[367] In a 2012 interview, Affleck said he owns several guns, both for skeet shooting and for the protection of his family. (His wife's stalker was deemed insane in 2010, placed in a mental ward and ordered to stay away from the Affleck family for 10 years.)[368]

In 2006, Affleck appeared alongside then-Senator Barack Obama at a rally in support of Proposition 87, which sought to reduce petroleum consumption in favour of alternative energy.[369] In 2007, he appeared in a global warming awareness video produced by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.[370] Also that year, Affleck admitted he was not "particularly good at being green."[371] In 2014, he named "a 1966 Chevelle" as his guilty pleasure.[372]

Affleck spoke at a press conference with New York Senator Chuck Schumer in 2002, in support of a proposed Anti-Nuclear Terrorism Prevention Act.[373]

In 2003, Affleck criticised the "questionable and aggressive" use of the Patriot Act and the resulting "encroachments on civil liberties."[351]

A reporter from The Washington Post overheard Affleck "railing about the Israeli invasion of Gaza" at a Washington party in 2009.[374] Steven Clemons, a participant in the conversation, responded: "I’m not going to comment on exactly what Affleck said — but I want to say that he impressed me with his passion and the level of detailed understanding that he had about the dilemmas we face in the Middle East. He has his views — and he’s not shy about broadcasting them, but he also listens to alternative takes ... What Affleck spoke about that night was reasoned, complex and made a lot of sense."[375] Later that year, in a New York Times interview, Affleck remarked that his views were closer to those of the Israeli Labor Party than Likud.[376]

Affleck is an admirer of Howard Zinn.[377] Affleck and Matt Damon mentioned Zinn in their Good Will Hunting screenplay and acted as executive producers on a proposed adaptation of "A People's History of the United States".[378][379] Affleck read excerpts from the book at the History of Progressive America event during the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[380] Following his death in 2010, Affleck described Zinn as "one of the great voices in the American political life ... I was lucky enough to know him personally, and I will carry with me what I learned from him - and try to impart it to my own children - in his memory."[381]

In 2004, Affleck said he believes "more in people than political parties ... I know some pretty exceptional people who are Republicans."[4] Also that year, he described President George W. Bush as "a collegial, affable, kind guy ... I think when you demonize your political opponent, you do yourself a disservice because you stop talking about what's important ... I happen to disagree with most of his policies, but I respect the man."[320] In 2008, he said Sarah Palin was "emblematic of a certain kind of voter that is sometimes overlooked, or looked down on, by the Democratic Party."[382] In 2012, Affleck praised Senator John McCain's "leadership" in defending Huma Abedin against anti-Muslim attacks.[383][384] In 2014, while testifying before Congress about issues in the Congo, he remarked: "Our Republican friends have perhaps been better on Africa than my party."[255]

In the early 2000s, Affleck often expressed an interest in one day running for political office.[385] In 2005, The Washington Post reported that Virginia Democrats were trying to persuade Affleck to run as a Senate candidate in his wife's home state.[386] His publicist dismissed the rumor.[387] Since 2007, Affleck has denied any political ambitions and spoken repeatedly about the need for campaign finance reform.[388][389][390][391][392] In 2012, political pundits and Democratic strategists including Bob Shrum and Tad Devine speculated that Affleck was considering running for a Massachusetts Senate seat.[393] Affleck denied the rumor, joking: "Also won't be throwing my hat in the ring to run the U.N."[394][395] In 2014, Affleck again expressed disillusionment with partisan politics and political fundraising but did not rule out running for office "when I'm 55, 65 or 75."[89]

Democratic Party activism[edit]

Affleck registered as a member of the Democratic Party in 1992 and has campaigned on behalf of a number of Democratic presidential nominees. He supported Al Gore in the final weeks of the 2000 presidential campaign, attending rallies in California,[396] Pennsylvania[397] and Florida,[398] as well as a New York fundraiser.[399] On Election Day, he made an appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, urging viewers to vote because "the president will appoint three or four Supreme Court justices ... I'm about to go vote." It later transpired that Affleck was unable to vote due to a registration issue in New York, where he was then residing: "I'm going to vote twice next time, in true Boston fashion."[400][401]

Affleck was very involved in the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry. Early in the campaign, he took part in a voter registration PSA[402] and attended fundraisers for Kerry.[403][404] During the Democratic National Convention, Affleck was highly visible, speaking to many delegations, appearing on political discussion shows and attending fundraising events. The Washington Post profiled Affleck, describing him as "a natural. He shakes hands, singles out little kids, speaks Spanish, writes his own speeches and adapts them to the audience ... Affleck doesn't speak in lefty cliches. He sounds like a party man, if not exactly original, then as cogent as the average House member. He doesn't have the usual Hollywood causes -- Tibet, acid rain, world peace -- and instead subscribes to the party platform, with the exception of gun control.[405][406] Affleck then travelled with Kerry during the opening weekend of his Believe in America Tour, making speeches at rallies in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.[407][408][409]

Affleck appeared alongside then-Senator Barack Obama at a 2006 rally, introducing him as "the most galvanizing leader to come out of either party, in my opinion, in at least a decade."[369] He donated $4,600 to Obama's presidential campaign in 2007.[410] In 2008, Affleck supported Obama during the Democratic Primary,[411] hosted a political fundraiser for his campaign[412] and attended other fundraising events.[413] Affleck urged voters to "help make history" in a MoveOn.org campaign[414] and made several appearances during the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[415] In the week of the election, Affleck appeared on Saturday Night Live to playfully endorse Senator John McCain because "my support has the opposite effect."[416] He later attended inauguration celebrations in Washington.[375] Affleck did not actively campaign for Obama's reelection in 2012.[368][417] However, he stated: "I like the president, I’m going to vote for the president."[418][419] "I don't feel disappointed [in his performance]. I'm someone who views politics practically."[331]

In 2000, Affleck introduced Senate candidate Hillary Clinton at a Cornell University rally[420] and helped fundraise for her campaign.[421][422] Affleck, who first met the Clintons at Camp David in 1998,[423] pointed to the First Lady's work with children, women and "working families."[424] Affleck supported Obama during the 2008 Democratic Primary, noting that Clinton had "moved toward the center" during the campaign.[388] In his role as an advocate with the Eastern Congo Initiative, Affleck has spoken at several events with both Bill and Hillary Clinton.[425][426][427] In 2014, Affleck said that, while he looks "at working in politics again with a more jaundiced eye," a Clinton presidency would be "exciting ... 100 years after women got the right to vote."[89] Affleck is a friend of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.[428][429]

Affleck has supported a number of other Democratic politicians. In 2002, he donated $1,000 to Dick Gephardt's Congressional campaign[430] and appeared in campaign literature for former classmate Marjorie Decker, running as a city councillor in Massachusetts.[431] In 2003, he made donations to the presidential campaigns of both Dennis Kucinich ($1,000) and Wesley Clark ($2,000),[432] and, in 2005, he donated $500 to Deval Patrick, a candidate for Governor of Massachusetts.[433] In 2006, Affleck contributed $10,000 to Cory Booker’s Newark mayoral campaign.[434] Also that year, Affleck introduced Congressmen Joe Courtney and Chris Murphy at rallies in Connecticut.[435] In 2008, he donated $2,300 to the Congressional campaign of Pennsylvania's Patrick Murphy[430][436] while, in 2010, he donated $1,500 to the Senate campaign of Kirsten Gillibrand.[430] In 2012, Affleck hosted a fundraiser for Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren,[437] endorsed her in a Progressive Change Campaign Committee video,[438] and made a campaign donation of $2,500.[439] In 2013, he hosted a fundraiser for Senate candidate Cory Booker,[440] and made donations to the campaigns of both Booker ($7,500) and Alison Lundergan Grimes ($5,200).[441][442] In 2014, Affleck made a further $5,000 donation to Grimes' Senate campaign through the Kentucky State Democratic Party.[443]

Personal life[edit]

Family[edit]

Jennifer Garner, Affleck's wife since 2005. They have three children.

Affleck is married to actress Jennifer Garner. They began dating in mid-2004, after starring in Pearl Harbor and Daredevil together.[444][445][446][447] They became engaged in April 2005 and were married on June 29, 2005 in a low-key Turks and Caicos ceremony. Victor Garber, who officiated the ceremony, was the only guest.[158][444][448][449][450] The couple have three children: daughters Violet Anne (b. December 2005)[451] and Seraphina "Sera" Rose Elizabeth (b. January 2009),[452] and son Samuel "Sam" Garner (b. February 2012).[453][454] Their main residence is a Cliff May-designed ranch in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles.[455][456][457] They also own an apartment in Manhattan, New York.[368] The family vacation on the secluded Hampton Island near Savannah, Georgia, where Affleck owns a Greek Revival-style home with an 83-acre estate.[358][458][459][460][461]

While Affleck believes paparazzi attention is "part of the deal" of stardom, he has spoken out against paparazzi interest in his children: "They're not celebrities ... I don't think it's healthy societally and I know it's not healthy for my kids."[462] He believes the paparazzi specifically target his children: "If I drive out [of my house] and they see the kids aren't in my car, they will wait for Jen. If they see Jen without the kids, they'll wait for me."[463] He attributes the media interest to "housewives who hold up their child rearing to the child rearing of these [famous] parents."[463] "I really object to the objectification, the commercialisation of images of children."[462] He and his wife considered moving from Los Angeles to New York City but found the paparazzi there worse: "We try to shelter them, but then they don't leave the house, and that's weird. I don't want my kids to be weirdos."[463]

Affleck and his wife met with California lawmakers "to get legislation passed to establish a certain distance between paparazzi and children and also to prevent the stalking behavior on the part of the paparazzi ... I understand we won't be able to prevent them from taking photos of children or get them to blur the faces, even though I think that would be preferable. But at the very least there should be a bubble of safety ... I think the First Amendment and the public's right to know are adequately served by photographers who are at least 100 feet away."[464]

Relationships[edit]

Affleck had a three-year, on-off relationship with actress Gwyneth Paltrow from 1997 to 2000. He met Paltrow at the premiere of Good Will Hunting in 1997.[104] They dated from October 1997 to January 1999.[21] During their breakup, Paltrow persuaded Affleck to co-star with her in Bounce.[465] In November 1999, after Bounce wrapped, they became a couple again but separated for good in October 2000.[466] Their split was amicable.[467] Paltrow later said that Affleck "makes life tough for himself. He's got a lot of complication, and you know, he really is a great guy."[468] Affleck responded: "She's probably right about that. I trust her opinion about most things. Not all, but most. I think I probably do get in my own way."[469]

Affleck had an eighteen-month relationship with actress/singer Jennifer Lopez from 2002 to 2004, during which they became engaged. In July 2002, Affleck began dating Lopez, whom he had met while filming Gigli.[158][470][471] They became engaged in November 2002,[472] and the relationship between the two received much attention from the entertainment media, who dubbed the couple "Bennifer".[158] Their planned wedding on September 14, 2003 in Santa Barbara, California was postponed with four days notice because of press leaks and the resulting "excessive media attention".[473] In December 2003, Affleck said that they were trying to be more low-profile.[474][475] The couple broke up in January 2004.[476] The couple remain on good terms.[477] Affleck has said that, while he has made plenty of mistakes in life, "I just don't view that as one of them."[478][479] "The temptation is to say that I wouldn't have done any of the press we did for Gigli, but you're paid really well to do these movies, and the expectation is that you're going to support them."[480] In 2013, Affleck said he and Lopez occasionally "touch base" via email: "I respect her. I like her."[481]

Affleck remains close friends with Matt Damon, remarking in 2014: "Having a friend you've been connected to since you were a little kid, that's grounding. Matt and my brother Casey are the two people I rely on the most, emotionally and professionally."[31] They've lived near each other in Los Angeles since 2012, with Affleck commenting, "I've been hounding him and hounding him to live here so our kids can know each other and go to the same schools and hang out the way we did and finally he caved."[43][482]

Professional poker[edit]

An avid poker player, Affleck has regularly entered local events. He has been tutored by poker professionals Amir Vahedi and Annie Duke. Duke has said Affleck "has the talent to become a fixture but not the time or inclination."[483] He appeared on Celebrity Poker Showdown in 2003. He won the California State Poker Championship on June 20, 2004, taking home the first prize of $356,400, which qualified him for the 2004 World Poker Tour final tournament.[484][485] In 2008, he said the win was "one of the things I am most unashamedly proud of in my life ... I don't play nearly as much as I did now I have a family, but I do love it. It is really fascinating – there's maths in the game but it also involves intuitive evaluations of other people. You have to be able to read people, which is fun and I think I'm good at that."[365]

Affleck played in private, high-stakes, poker games held in Los Angeles area homes and hotel suites in the mid-2000s.[486] Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Tobey Maguire were also known to frequent the games. The game organizer, Molly Bloom, later wrote a memoir, which was serialized in Vanity Fair.[487] In it, she described Affleck as a "smart" player with "a relaxed charisma" who "liked to limit his downside, especially at a table with a bunch of guys he wasn’t used to playing with."[488][489] "He didn't stay all night like a lot of the guys. He always had a specific time when he would stand up at the table. He would leave at a reasonable hour. He never lost a great deal. He usually won."[490]

In 2014, Affleck was banned from playing blackjack at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, after a series of wins aroused suspicion that he was counting cards. While legal, the gambling strategy is frowned upon by casinos.[491] The casino issued a statement: "Mr. Affleck, a valued guest of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, is not banned from our property and is welcome back any time."[492]

While there have occasionally been tabloid headlines about Affleck's gambling, he doesn't feel "that it's a big issue for me," enjoying as he does its "psychological aspects," rather than the potential payoff. "People think, 'This is a person who's prone to being swept up in bad behavior.' Just because I don't drink, I don't live in a convent."[493] He has spoken out against the assumption that, "If you're associated with [an addiction], you must have other problems, too ... It's seen as 'This guy's crazy.'"[480] "

Rehab stay[edit]

Affleck entered alcohol rehab in 2001. When the story leaked to the press, a spokesperson said the actor "had decided that a fuller life awaits him without alcohol".[494] The following year, Affleck spoke of his "naïve" belief that "it was going to be a private thing."[495] He has described the rehab stay as a "pre-emptive strike" given his family's history of alcoholism.[496][497] In 2008, he remarked: "My father was an alcoholic and there was a cycle of addiction in my family. Having such serious addiction issues has a major impact – it colours who you are and becomes part of you. I had my issues and went to rehab, which was a good thing for me."[365]

Media outlets speculated that Affleck was intoxicated during a 2004 interview with French-Canadian television presenter Anne-Marie Losique.[498] His representative later denied this.[499] Affleck and Losique had a long-running comedic routine since the 1990s, with Affleck taking on the persona of a drunken Frenchman in their interviews.[500][501][502][503] In one such clip, he joked about their "performance art".[504]

Religion[edit]

Affleck has described himself as a "lapsed Protestant" from a mostly Episcopalian family.[505] In 2007, he said he considered his faith a "private matter", but chose the Book of Matthew as one of the books that made a difference in his life.[506] His three children were baptised as members of the United Methodist Church in his wife's hometown of Charleston, West Virginia.[507][508][509] Actors Victor Garber and Corena Chase served as Seraphina’s godparents.[508]

Sports[edit]

Affleck is an avid Boston Red Sox fan.[367][510][511] As a child, he played on a Little League team[512] and attended games with his father.[513][514] Since becoming famous, he has been photographed at many games[515] and threw out the first pitch in 2003.[516] Also in 2003, he narrated the HBO documentary "The Curse of the Bambino".[517] In 2004, he emceed an auction to benefit the charitable foundation of the Red Sox.[518] He narrated an educational children's DVD aimed at young Red Sox fans in 2007.[519] Affleck also narrated the Red Sox's official 2013 World Series championship DVD.[520] Since the release of "Good Will Hunting" in 1997, the Red Sox have lost every year on Affleck's birthday.[521] As of 2014, the Red Sox have had 15 consecutive losses on August 15.[522][523][524] Affleck also supports the New England Patriots[367][525][526] and Boston Celtics.[367][527][528] He has described himself as a "bandwagon" fan of the Boston Bruins.[529]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ He is listed as "Benjamin G. Affleckbold"; born on August 15, 1972 in Alameda County according to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. Searchable at http://www.familytreelegends.com/records/39461 Archived 18 January 2010 at WebCite
  2. ^ a b "Ben Affleck Biography (1972-)". Film reference. Retrieved June 26, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Ben Affleck Interview for THE TOWN - Interviews". Movies.ie. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  4. ^ a b c "CNN.com - Transcripts". Transcripts.cnn.com. 2004-03-16. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  5. ^ "Ben Affleck - St. Patrick's Day special: The sexiest Irish celebrities in Hollywood". NY Daily News. 2014-03-17. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  6. ^ a b c d THR Cover: Confessions of Ben Affleck. The Hollywood Reporter (2012-10-10). Retrieved on 2014-06-05.
  7. ^ a b PLAYBOY INTERVIEW: BEN AFFLECK -.a candid conversation with the hot young star about why women love actors, the perils of viagra, the truth about gwyneth and what he really thinks about matt damon.(Interview) | HighBeam Business: Arrive Prepared. Business.highbeam.com (1999-12-01). Retrieved on 2014-06-05.
  8. ^ a b Cinezine - Frank Discussions With Ben Affleck. Viewaskew.com. Retrieved on 2014-06-05.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Ben in Biography Magazine. Angelfire.com (1972-08-15). Retrieved on 2014-06-05.
  10. ^ A reunion report, and a ringtail cat | Harvard Magazine Mar-Apr 2010. Harvardmagazine.com (2013-09-25). Retrieved on 2014-06-05.
  11. ^ "THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM". Museum of Modern Art. October 8, 1991. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  12. ^ Stickgold, Emma (February 10, 2003). "ELIZABETH SHAW, MUSEUM OF MODERN ART OFFICIAL". The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  13. ^ Ben Affleck On Acting and Activism. Bostoncommon-magazine.com. Retrieved on 2014-06-05.
  14. ^ Interview: Ben Affleck, Argo director and star - Page 3 - Chicago Tribune. Articles.chicagotribune.com (2012-10-10). Retrieved on 2014-06-05.
  15. ^ SAMUEL SHAW Obituary: View SAMUEL SHAW's Obituary by New York Times. Legacy.com. Retrieved on 2014-06-05.
  16. ^ Samuel P. Shaw Sr. Obituary: View Samuel Shaw's Obituary by The Cambridge Chronicle. Legacy.com. Retrieved on 2014-06-05.
  17. ^ Englewood Activist O'brien Boldt, 86 - June 02, 2004 - The Record, Bergen County, NJ - News. Record-bergen.vlex.com (2004-06-02). Retrieved on 2014-06-05.
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Pierce Brosnan
People's Sexiest Man Alive
2002
Succeeded by
Johnny Depp