Capone sits down with actor-director Ben Affleck to talk ARGO, TO THE WONDER, and those pesky JUSTICE LEAGUE rumors!!!
Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.
When you're first told that you'll get the opportunity to interview Ben Affleck in a small roundtable (originally it was four people that got knocked down to three), I was hesitant. Not because I didn't want to talk to the man; of course I did. But we don't tend to do roundtables, so I was prepared to pass. But then I saw Affleck's third feature as a director ARGO (after GONE BABY GONE and THE TOWN), and I realized I'd be a fool to turn down the chance to talk to him, especially since there were giving us about 30 minutes of his time.
ARGO is a magnificent account of a very real series of events that started with the storming of the American embassy in Iran in November 1979 by Islamist militants. What wasn't known for a while was that six Americans managed to get out of the embassy before it was taken, and they ran to the Canadian ambassador's residence, where they hid for months. Enter CIA Agent Tony Mendez (played by Affleck), who concocted and executed one of the most brilliant and ridiculous extraction plans in history. And it involved Hollywood, a very real screenplay for a science fiction film, and the Carter administration, which was rightfully worried about the price 50-plus hostages at the embassy would pay if it were discovered that these six were taken out by American spies.
The whole story is so unbelievable that it had to have happened, and Affleck has made the perfect film that captures the frustrating truth about bureaucracy, the magic and influence of Hollywood, and the almost inhuman bravery of the men and women of the clandestine services. He also features a cast of both a famous faces and a group of largely unknown actors. Watching ARGO, you wonder how this story hasn't been told before.
So sitting down with Affleck, a man who once poked a bit of fun at Ain't It Cool News (in Kevin Smith's JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK), was a really enjoyable experience. He had just flown in from the premiere of the film at the Toronto Film Festival, which was a fairly emotional experience since Canada played such an important role in getting the six Americans out of Iran. And Affleck seemed to be riding high from the overwhelmingly positive feedback ARGO has been getting. He was funny, open, and willing to talk a little about the JUSTICE LEAGUE rumors and his work with Terrence Malick, TO THE WONDER, which also played at Toronto.
I'm warning you now, this interview has more than a few SPOILERS in it!
Please enjoy this chat with Ben Affleck, who is most definitely the bomb in PHANTOMS…
Ben Affleck: How are you guys doing?
Capone: Good. How are you?
Ben Affleck: Good. I’m having a nice time with this one. I’m running around, talking to people. Chicago is great.
Question: Were you in Toronto?
BA: We were in Toronto.
Question: How’d it go?
BA: Great. We really had a great screening. And you know there's a little bit of hometown love in there, so we definitely got some appreciation. And there’s definitely Canadian jokes to, not at the expense of Canada, but jokes that Canadians would get that kind of fall flat in the U.S. and it got big laughs at the premiere. [Laughs] So it was a nice boost, and we're excited to come out here. We did Boston and now here and then I’ll go to St. Sebastian [Film Festival], then I’ll come back and do San Francisco and then New York and L.A., and finally the movie will come out at some point. [Laughs]
Capone: So you’ve got a month, I think. Over a month.
[For the sake of a radio interviewer, everyone says who they are with, with Affleck chiming in at the end.]
BA: [I’m with] BenAffleck.com.
BA: I wish there was a BenAffleck.com.
Capone: Are you sure there isn’t?
BA: It’s probably full of donkey porn. You can’t even buy those things anymore. When the internet started, you would just go get a domain name, and now people are hip to it, and they just sit on it and want $100,000 or some crazy thing, and you just go “Forget it.”
Question: I read an interview in Toronto where you said that Warner Brothers took a chance on you, because “there were a lot of elements in this movie that could trip you up.” What were those elements?
BA: Well for one thing, there are a lot of elements in terms of tone that are hard to synthesize. There’s the comedy, the suspense, the heavy Washington stuff that don’t really lend themselves to being woven together easily. Also I think in terms of marketing the movie, there are a couple of ways to look at it, one would be “No one wants to have a Middle East war movie.” That’s thought to be the kiss of death marketing-wise, and nobody wants to have period drama, but to me this is like comedy, thriller, and satire. So you’ve got to position it in the right way and tell people what’s in there rather than relying on them to make guesses about it.
Capone: Along those lines, you have all of these different storylines and threads that really run the risk of complicating things. Is what we see in the film the way it was in the script? Or did you have to come in and organize it a little more?
BA: Yeah, it was in the script to a certain extent. It’s one of the things I worked on when I came on board with Chris [Terrio, screenwriter], practically, how we were going to do it and how much of it we were going to do and dialing up and down the comedy. He actually trusted the comedy more than I did and he proved right, that the movie could take more jokes and still be okay to rebound back into reality back in Iran. It was a fun one to work on, because there were all these facets and so many knobs to turn. It’s not like one storyline where you can go, “Okay, I know what this is and we're going to run the ball right up the middle.” It had a lot going on.
Question: I read that you had studied Middle Eastern cultures in college. Is that what drew you to the script?
BA: That was a big part of it, yeah. Middle Eastern studies was something I was really interested in, but I did drop out, technically. [Laughs] But I studied it before I dropped out and I really liked it. It’s a part of the world that I find mysterious and unknowable, and I could tell then that it was important to us and since then it’s been more important to us now, obviously. So the mysteries of that and trying to unveil some of those for an audience was a really interesting prospect.
Capone: Did you ever write about the Iranian Revolution when you were in college?
BA: Yeah, I did two papers on the revolution. I was really more focused on the Arab world. Of course Iranians are Persian, but the revolution itself was seen as a seminal event, but like a one off event when I wrote those papers. It was like “And here is this unusual thing that happened.” Now revolution and the unintended consequences of revolution is on the newspaper every day and has been for years with Egypt, Tunisia, Syria now. It’s an incredibly relevant idea.
Question: When you see those scenes of revolution, it’s hard not to think of Egypt and Syria and those other things that are going on. How much fictional license did you take, and how much fictional license do you think you should be allowed to take with a story like this?
BA: I think you should be allowed to take as much as doesn’t corrupt the essence of the story, which is six Americans trapped in Iran, the CIA came up with an idea for a movie cover, went over there, Tony Mendez rescued them, and brought them home. That’s all true and that’s completely legit. Now we do a lot more things that are true than that, but I would say that would be the barometer.
So we had Tony with us the whole time. Obviously, we read his book and there's documentary. I sat down with him and heard the stories from him, and he was on the set and he was in Toronto two days ago and really happy with the movie. So that’s the truth. Things that we changed are things were like the house guests were broken up and staying in two places for a period of time. It’s like, “Is that really relevant to the truth of the story? Or does it just create more shoe leather?”
But those tensions are what you deal with when you try to make a true story. The car didn’t chase them down the runway at the end, but they were freaked out, and their plane was delayed and had mechanical troubles, so they were sitting there with their pulses pounding, but it wasn’t because [they were about to get caught]. We externalized that internal drama. I think the proof in the pudding how four of the house guests that were there were with us on set, and we had Tony. So we knew we had our barometer with us.
Capone: In terms of your cast, you have slightly lesser-known people playing the house guests, at least compared to some of the other actors you have in the movie. Someone like John Goodman or Alan Arkin bring a certain baggage that you can use to your advantage in a lot of ways. Did you deliberately try to put these lesser-known actors, who look amazingly like the real people--you put those pictures up at the end and it’s kind of unbelievable…
BA: I had to put those pictures up, otherwise no one would believe someone wore glasses like that.
Capone: I didn’t recognize Rory Cochrane until the end of the movie. Did you deliberately cast people that wouldn’t bring a lot of baggage with them and would be almost unrecognizable?
BA: Yeah, the idea was to get people that you didn’t know--or if you did know them, cover them up in the veil of their disguise as this person. I think the theory behind it for me was, “The audience needs to identify with these people. The movie wont work if you’re not with them, thinking that could be you.” And the more famous somebody is, the more you know that bad things don’t happen to them.
I love watching Matt [Damon], but by the third BOURNE movie, I know that he's going to kick everyone’s ass, and that’s a different kind of movie because it’s a different kind of suspense that’s like, “Watch how cool he can do this.” Hopefully with this, you think “These guys might not get out of this.” So the more anonymous an actor you find or the more anonymous characters you make, the more I think the audience is inclined to worry about their fate. You know, like the fourth guy on "Star Trek" who always got beamed down and died?
Capone: The Red Shirt?
BA: “Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and Dave.”
Question: Well on the same theme of tone, a staff writer of mine who attended last night was 25, and she felt like she was being held hostage. I know that’s what you’re probably trying to do there with the movie. I’m actually old enough to know what it was like to be here. My yellow ribbons on my trees actually great into the trees after 444 days. It really did touch America and I feel that you really did achieve that. You nailed it in this film. What resources did you use?
BA: The nice thing is that era is the very first beginning of the period when we started keeping all of these archives and records. So I could get the stuff off the TV stations, I could get every broadcast in the news, and they weren’t 24 hours either, it was two or three hours of news every day. "Nightline" started then with AMERICA HELD HOSTAGE it was called, and they started keeping track of it, and the show was so popular, they just stayed with it. And there was pretty decent photography that we could use that showed us down to the shirt, the glasses, the shoes, even the mustache, in reproducing factual events. So that was the real asset.
In fact, I was so enamored with all of the research, that I put a lot of the historic footage in the movie and then even at the end I used those images from history. It just struck me that it was amazing that it was recent enough that we could copy it so closely, and it also reinforced the fact that it’s true. You hear the president of the United States at the time at the end of the movie talking about the mission, that’s true.
Question: To go back a second to casting and who you cast in certain roles, my friend when it was over turned to me and said, “Affleck has the best taste in character actors.” You’ve got Philip Baker Hall and Richard Kind and all of these actors who are in one scene. Can you speak about why you chose those personalities? And Michael Parks comes in for a line or two.
BA: Yeah, those are the highest compliments you can get. It was a great cast, and we had a great casting director, and I also just have a history of a life spent… As actors, you watch other actors and their performances and you pay attention to it and you go, “Oh, that’s a great little moment.” You appreciate actors more I think, because you’re doing the same job. Also, with someone like Michael Parks, I knew who he was, but then I saw him in RED STATE, Kevin Smith’s movie, and I was like, “This guy is amazing.” I saw Kerry Bishé in that movie as well and casted her, and John Goodman was in it. [Laughs] So basically I’ve cast everyone from Kevin’s movie, so it’s really Kevin’s taste.
And then going to Arkin. I don’t know what we would have done if we didn’t get Arkin. He is so perfect for that Hollywood producer sort of cranky guy, enough bluster to be full of shit, but enough also to be like, “Okay, we are going to do this thing. I know it sounds crazy.” And Goodman, I just couldn’t help but think of all of those Coen Brothers movies he was in where he was funny, but so real, whether it’s LEBOWSKI or BARTON FINK or RAISING ARIZONA. He just has this ability to be outrageous and truthful, which is extremely rare. Bryan Cranston obviously is no secret
Then the really the fun casting was the Iranians. We would have them all read in Farsi. First of all, half of them were full of shit, because they'd come in and you’re like, “You speak Farsi?” And they'd go, "Yeah, yeah." Then they would do the scene and they would say their lines, and you’d be like “Okay, now do it in Farsi” and one guy just went [Stretched out and deeper voiced] “Iran! Iran!” [Laughs] It’s like, “Nope. You have more than two lines, sir.” But then the fun thing was, I didn’t speak it, so you would just judge people by their eyes about how they are acting. So they could have been talking about whatever, like going to the bathroom, yet it was so entrancing. So I cast all of those people and it was really, really fun.
The guy who goes over the third check point, pulls us aside, and he was great. The houseguests were like, “This guy is the Persian Brando! I’m terrified!” So we just had so much fun every step of the way finding people. The only real benefit that I can say I’m accruing in my career is that enough actors… if you cast good actors originally, their performances are good, and they make you look good. In the next movie, the actors go, “Well the last guys were pretty good,” so they attribute it to me and then they sign up, so I’m starting to collect all of these great performances and with the next group of actors I meet, I’ll be like “I really created all of those performances.”
Capone: Can you talk a little bit about just meeting Tony for the first time and aside from the story, what did you want to get from him in your initial meetings?
BA: The first time I met Tony was when I went to D.C., and I drove into town. He wanted to meet me at this bar and I forget what it was called now, but it was an old wood-paneled bar over by Georgetown.
Capone: That's where I'm from. There are a lot of those in that area. That’s where I’m from.
BA: I know. He was like, “This was an old CIA bar. This is where Aldridge Ames passed all of this material to his handler with the KGB,” and then he started telling me CIA history, and it was incredible. It was great, because I thought, “Okay, this is a real thing. This guy is the real deal.” He starts telling me his story, and I realized “He’s not just spinning a yarn. This is true. This is CIA history. He’s got the Intelligence Star, he's one of the 50 great CIA agents of all time.”
And I realized because he was so soft spoken and because he was so chill and quiet and introverted, you could tell when he’s telling stories that were really heroic, it occurred to me that there are so many people in the clandestine service who do this work and don’t get any award, who don’t get any approbation. They don’t get anything and yet they make these huge sacrifices. Even if it’s nottaking a bullet, it’s “You’re marriage falls apart” or “You never see your kids.” All kinds of stuff that we take for granted. I thought, to make a movie where this guy is the hero and make it emblematic for everyone that does this and serves our country in this kind of capacity is really inspiring.
Capone: It’s weird to the character, of a spy who spends the entire time in the open. He’s exposed the whole time he's doing this mission. I don’t remember ever seeing anything quite like that before.
BA: Errol Morris did a documentary on him or featured him in a documentary called THE LITTLE GREY MAN [part of Morris' "Frist Person" TV series], which is about just blending into the woodwork. It’s like the idea was you should be able to get into an elevator with Tony, stay there, go up to the top, get off, walk out, and somebody would say, “Could you describe the guy that was just in there?” and have no memory of it. So being unobtrusive is part of his spy craft.
Question: And I love that the happy ending for him is being there with his kid. Being a father myself, I loved the beauty of that moment.
BA: Chris Terrio said he always thought of it secretly about a guy who just wants to get home to his son.
Question: You were about his son’s age when all of this was happening?
BA: Almost exactly his son’s age. When we filmed the son stuff, it completely changed my perspective from identifying with Tony to realizing, “That’s who I really am, this kid with this room full of action figures and STAR WARS sheets and the posters and stuff.”
Question: Let’s talk about your directing for a little bit, which I can imagine is very challenging when directing your own acting. Who do you go to, or do you go to anybody when you’re looking at the takes and say, “I’m not sure about this,” or do you just go for it?
BA: There are a few people I will sometimes check with. Actually Chris, the writer, was really good with that. He's so critical that I would say, “Was that terrible?” “Yeah, it’s kind of terrible.” so I knew once he said that he thought it was alright it was like, “This is brilliant.” [Laughs] “If Chris thinks it’s mediocre, it’s great.” Mostly what I did was shoot a lot of coverage of myself and do a lot of takes and direct myself later in the editing room when I could have some distance and perspective on it.
Question: Do you have directors you’ve worked with who you would say most influenced your style as a director?
BA: I’ve taken a lot from a lot of directors. Gus Van Sant was very chill and creates a mellow atmosphere and allows actors to make their own discoveries. Roger Michell cast every part, like every extra, like he casts the lead in the movie, and so he would create this really cool thing where you can talk to anybody in the scene and go anywhere. Terrence Malick allows the unexpected to happen, and there are no rules. Martin Brest, from him I really learned about doing a lot of takes and letting actors get comfortable and choosing little tiny select bits from each take.
Kevin Smith taught me that it doesn’t have to be fraught; it can be about working with your friends and can be a relaxed atmosphere and that can be conducive to getting better work. I’ve been lucky. John Madden with SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, he was just faithful to that text, nice and simple, and the movie worked amazingly. He didn’t have to embellish it or adorn it with all of this other stuff; you could just make the movie.
Question: Did you have directors who you didn’t work with who have inspired or influenced you? I have to admit, in all three of your films, I see very '70s influences, Lumet, Friedkin…
BA: Definitely Sudney Lumet. THE VERDICT was a big movie in the second one [THE TOWN]. Lumet is definitely one of the big influences. The '70s, like you say with Friedkin, Pakula, all the way to the early '70s with THE GODFATHER obviously and Hal Ashby, Cassavetes. The '70s to me is the golden age of American movies. There is no end to the great material that comes to mine when you’re looking for inspiration, and so that’s really what I did. There’s a little Costa-Gavras, a little BATTLE OF ALGIERS, ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN. I like to go and find something to influence me before I do movies and really get steeped in it and soak it up. You don’t want to reproduce Lumet--Lumet is Lumet--but there’s definitely flavors of that that I really want in my movies and that I really admire.
Question: But it’s a conscious thing. You went and watched THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS and all?
Capone: But it sounds like what you’re saying is what you’ve learned from all of these people is to--rather than impose their style onto your film--find the style that fits the material.
BA: Yeah Gus used to say you’ve got to let the movie talk back to you. You can’t keep trying to make it into the thing that you’re trying to make it. It’s not that, it’s elusive, and then once you allow it to talk to you and you give it the room to get where it wants to go, it really gets better. And for me, just in terms of being an actor, I know that when I show up on a set and I have the most relaxation and the most freedom, I’m the most successful and I try to provide that for the other actors. I have never seen a movie that I loved that didn’t have acting that I loved in it, so I know that that’s got to be successful for the movie to work. So that’s my first order of business, making sure the actors feel that way. When you to look at Lumet’s movies, they look like the actors have that kind of freedom, and there’s that kind of attention to performance.
Capone: Do you feel like in this film that you’ve actually made three different styles of film? The Hollywood '70s stuff had to be so much fun to do, just to recreate that period, but I mean that’s a different movie than what’s going on in Iran.
BA: That’s the thing I was really scared of, having these three tones and putting them together. “If it’s too goofy and laughy, it’s going to upend the stuff that’s supposed to be intense, because nothing is going to seem real. You’re not going to care anymore. You’re going to have the comedic approach to reality rather than the dramatic approach to reality.” Also I didn’t want it to be bumpy, so I used some real footage. I used some montages. Ultimately, the actors bailed me out, because like I said John and Alan were so real, so even when they are saying the most absurd ridiculous laugh lines, it didn’t seem at all out of place with the rest of reality in the film.
Question: I really enjoyed the comical parts of it. I think it eased the tension, too. It’s an intense film.
BA: If you try to have an audience be tense the whole movie, they're going to reject it. They're going to push away from it, because the mind doesn’t want to have to carry that weight, so you have to have a give and take I think, and you give a few laughs. This was a perfect structure as written where you have these laughs, you let it out, and then ease back into the tension, and when it got to be too much, you ease out of it again. An audience knows when you're manipulating them, so if it gets to be too tense, they will just go, “This is bullshit, you’re pushing this too far.” Also, life is full of humor. Humor is my favorite thing in the world. We use humor to sooth our own anxieties, and there’s gallows humor. There’s humor in all kinds of places. You’ve got to have humor in your movie no matter, even if it’s that, or if it’s like a movie about two guys in prison.
Question: I know that one of the messages I would assume that you want people to take away from this is a “Thank You” to Canada, our neighbor that really did step up here.
BA: Absolutely. There was this moment of eruption of gratitude towards Canada when this happened, because they were sheltered by the Canadians. I would like to revisit that a little bit. I think it was a great cross-national moment. Obviously we're also now including Tony in the story, but I want to be sure to note that that doesn’t diminish the fact that the Canadians actually did hide American citizens and actually did protect them and put their necks on the line. So yeah, “Thank you, Canada” is still a strong part of this.
Question: We talked about '70s inspirations and being an actor’s director. Do you see yourself always staying that way? Would you make a film that’s so purely in the '10s, like a superhero movie or a sci-fi movie?
BA: I would love to. A guy who was interviewing me downstairs was like, “Would you ever make a superhero movie?” I was like, “Yeah.” He’s like, “Really?!”
BA: “Do you not think I’m qualified for it or…?”
Capone: Your name got tossed around recently with connection to…
BA: …to JUSTICE LEAGUE or SUPERMAN?
Capone: Was that even real?
BA: No. Now because there are so many bloggers, and there’s so much entertainment blogging and especially those comic book movies, which are so subject to rumor, and the people who are super fans are on there all of the time. It can be in the Talkback section of something, and somebody else hears about it, and then it takes off and gets its own life. The movie business is such that people get loosely attached to stuff, and so people are used to something being attached to them then falling off that it's never that embarrassing when something that you write turns out to not be true. You just go, “Well he decided not to.”
Capone: That’s pretty much my bread and butter.
BA: [laughs] I wasn’t approached about JUSTICE LEAGUE, although I do think the SUPERMAN teaser looked badass. I think it’s really the right tone. I think it looked great. I would love to do a movie like that of some kind. I’d love to play with all of the toys that you get when you get to spend that kind of money to build images of that scale. One of my favorite filmmakers is Ridley Scott--ALIEN, BLADE RUNNER--that kind of thing where you’re taking a look and you’re building a world and you’re also combining it with a very grounded story. That’s very appealing to me, so I don’t know. If you guys have any 3D epics, let me know.
Capone: I don’t know how much you can even talk about TO THE WONDER, but can you talk at all about it? Just give me your best Malick story?
BA: It’s a funny movie, because it’s not… You’ve got to anticipate something different than a conventional movie. It’s Terry really into silences and telling a story in an impressionistic way. It’s non-linear. He doesn’t have a lot of literal scenes. It’s just like meant to give you a feeling of something. It’s about this woman that this guy is kind of obsessed with, and he brings her back, and she’s beguiling, and then there’s this other woman and then there’s a priest involved. It all sort of flows on top of itself. I think it’s a “wonder-ful” movie, to make a bad pun, but it strikes people in different ways. It’s got the pace of like a Tarkovsky film or Bela Tar, where you have to recalibrate what you are used to in watching movies.
If you are just expecting your conventional three-act story where the inciting incident happens and then the first act ends on page 21, it’s not that. It truly is an experimental movie, and experimental stuff is polarizing. I think it’s going to polarize people. There are some people who will love it, some people who won't. He’s taking what he did in THE TREE OF LIFE and moving further into the experimental zone, so if you didn’t like THE TREE OF LIFE, it’s probably not the movie for you, but if you’re interested in seeing something that really breaks some molds, check it out.
Capone: And you’re absolutely sure you’re in it?
BA: I'm pretty sure. I read somewhere that I wasn't in it and I thought, “Well, at least when they screen it in Toronto, they'll know I’m in the movie.” Like it or not, I’m in it. “Did you like it?” "I don't know, I'm not in it."
Capone: Thanks so much, Ben.
BA: Take it easy, guys.
-- Steve Prokopy
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Oct. 8, 2012, 9:57 a.m. CST
Are you doing justice League?
Oct. 8, 2012, 10:01 a.m. CST
Oct. 8, 2012, 10:04 a.m. CST
Oct. 8, 2012, 10:07 a.m. CST
Oct. 8, 2012, 10:08 a.m. CST
Oct. 8, 2012, 10:21 a.m. CST
He was that guy who we as nerds were supposed to hate but didn't really because he was kind of in on the whole scene in a way. His directorial efforts are classics, whether you want to view them that way or not. I don't want him back as Daredevil, but if he wanted to direct it now, Marvel would be idiots to say no.
Oct. 8, 2012, 10:39 a.m. CST
by albert comin
This review definatly makes it clear what a clever, intelligent and informed man is Ben Affleck. Everything he said was just right. I has my full trust in anything he wants to make as a director. And if as an actor he's good enough for Terrence Malick, he's good enough for me too. Anybody who will harbors ill feelings toward him after reading that interview is an asshole. And i love how he makes no mention of Michael Bay in the directors that influenced him as director, despite working with that hack twice. That's my boy!
Oct. 8, 2012, 10:39 a.m. CST
by albert comin
Oct. 8, 2012, 10:41 a.m. CST
by albert comin
I completly understand your enthusiasm.
Oct. 8, 2012, 11:16 a.m. CST
The guy has completely reinvented himself. He's now one of the five or six best American directors. If you don't believe me, see Argo. It really is as good as the critics would have you believe. And he seems like an awesome guy, to boot.
Oct. 8, 2012, 11:21 a.m. CST
by Samuel Fulmer
Maybe a questin about that??????????
Oct. 8, 2012, 11:52 a.m. CST
Failing that, I'd like to see Affleck get the call. He sounds more than open to the idea.
Oct. 8, 2012, 11:54 a.m. CST
Armie Hammer for Superman. Last I heard, they ARE recasting and I live in hope of a Crisis movie.
Oct. 8, 2012, 11:56 a.m. CST
You can't fit that story into one movie...
Oct. 8, 2012, 11:57 a.m. CST
Looking forward to Argo.
Oct. 8, 2012, 12:01 p.m. CST
And ARGO is the goods. One of the best of the year. Damn near flawless directing.
Oct. 8, 2012, 12:19 p.m. CST
...write a book on the whole thing, titled 'The Canadian Caper', sometime in the mid to early 1980s?
Oct. 8, 2012, 12:59 p.m. CST
Having seen Argo, the 2 it looks like influenced Affleck more then anyone were Sydney Pollack and Alan J Pakula.
Oct. 8, 2012, 1:19 p.m. CST
Jeebus that shit has been cluttering up the main page all week. I assume that will continue through all of October, burying every interesting bit of new movie news.
Oct. 8, 2012, 1:45 p.m. CST
I know he said a lot of those are BS rumors but I thought that there was actually an article mentioning him connected to it.
Oct. 8, 2012, 1:53 p.m. CST
by Steve Lamarre
I enjoyed that interview. I really like the actor/director Affleck has become. He's a very thoughtful professional. Looking forward to Argo for sure.
Oct. 8, 2012, 2:32 p.m. CST
by Raptor Jesus
And his performance in 'Hollywoodland' was spectacular.
Oct. 8, 2012, 2:59 p.m. CST
by Samuel Fulmer
Oct. 8, 2012, 3:05 p.m. CST
Oct. 8, 2012, 3:10 p.m. CST
by albert comin
Completly agree with you about "Holywoodland". I believe that was the begining of his rebirth as a talent to reckon with. But he was always a good alright chap even during his bad career phase. I always liked him, and now i feel justified for keeping the faith on him.
Oct. 8, 2012, 3:11 p.m. CST
I really liked his comments on the casting. I never got the hate for Ben Affleck for his acting or directing.
Oct. 8, 2012, 3:41 p.m. CST
by Samuel Fulmer
That between the years of 1998-2004 he was in about every terrible big budget tent pole, or low buget crap romantic comedy. Dude took a break, must've come to some moment of clarity, and became one of the more interesting actors/directors in the Hollywood industry today.
Oct. 8, 2012, 4:13 p.m. CST
As I recall most of the hate came from his relationship with a certain lady with 'taco-flavoured-kisses'. Nice to see him back and thinking the right thoughts.
Oct. 8, 2012, 4:19 p.m. CST
That scirocco is asimovlives
Oct. 8, 2012, 4:34 p.m. CST
My god how can anyone have respected him while dating J Lo? Next to Hilton and the Kardashians she is Hollywoods biggets joke marketing creation. (Ok I give her Selena, she did a good job there, but that "music" and her arrogance, the shit chick flicks etc.. my god). Really glad he got his act together and is showing the talent. The Town was great fyi. If he gets Justice League hopefully Kevin Smith wont be up his ass with a bong and a script full of fart jokes.
Oct. 8, 2012, 5 p.m. CST
by Darth Macchio
I always thought of him as the 'coat-tails' of the Oscar win for Good Will Hunting. The Town disproved that once and for all. And not just his directing but his acting too. That scene where the Irish mob guy (forget his name in the movie - played by the late-great Pete Postlewaite) describes how he "neutered" his father and watching Affleck's face - it was perfect. I was right there with him with the boiling anger. Such a great movie (Renner was scary good in that too). Guy's a true class act and has mega serious chops both in front and behind the camera. Eagerly awaiting anything he does next...and a superhero flick would be a VERY interesting mix...make it so!
Oct. 8, 2012, 7:02 p.m. CST
He was in so many movies (many were terrible) and he was on the cover of every magazine and on every entertainment show thanks to J-Lo. People just got fed-up with him.
Oct. 8, 2012, 8:18 p.m. CST
Gone baby Gone, The Town...I'm actually going to see his newest at the theater. And i think, since he's become a director, he's become such a better actor.
Oct. 8, 2012, 8:57 p.m. CST
Ponderous, self-important, boring...actually Superman Returns was better as far as the tone goes.
Oct. 8, 2012, 9:25 p.m. CST
Oh, and I've something to say: I thought "Jersey Girl" was pretty great. .. (A Defense of a Commonly Maligned Motion Picture Experience)
There, I said it. I really like Kevin Smith’s “Jersey Girl.” When it was first released and the backbiteing ensued due to its PG-13 rateing (which it bends pretty far), I was honestly already a little turned off on Kevin Smith due to the fact that "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back!" completely baffled and underwhelmed me. I guess it was one of those cases in which the old Gypsy curse reared its wisdom in that I got exactly what I wished for: an hour and a half of pure unadulterated Jay and Silent Bob. I had thought that this was exactly what I wanted. "Yes, give it to me!" I had thought. They put colour into the black and white mundane world of "Clerks" and provideing in some way a respite to the notion of selling out, being corporatized. They seemed like Punks, createing their own rules, provideing for those still in the median a balm for the shame they felt. But in full-on movie form, Jay and Silent Bob got tireing real quick and real loud (sort of a fulfillment of another movie trope, "Never go full-retard"). I didn't reject the movie immediately and was in some way enamoured and flattered with certain elements. (Those were in my early days of first comeing to Ain't It Cool and to realize that the film was recognizeing it and its ilk made me feel recognized, like a member of a family - even if that family had been renamed Movie Poopshoot Dot Com.) But afterwards, after the initial excitement of "the perfect hardcore Kevin Smith movie" wore off and gave way to realization of a dawning maturity and eventual dissatisfaction, even if only on an unconscious level, I no longer had a strong desire to see a new Kevin Smith movie. And the years in which a new film did not come along to stoke those fires did more to let any ember of passion die out. When the new film did finally come out, the reaction was in stark diachotomy to what had come before: instead of anticipation there was a rabid dissent grown among the fans. Instead of encouragement there was resentment, an active rejection. The fans, their once open arms had became a wave of linked resistance. They stood up now against that which had once stood out for them; a new Kevin Smith film was like an answer to an open threat, a provocation and an easy target. (It reminds me much of what has occurred with M. Night.) If there were any positive reviews of "Jersey Girl," I cannot remember haveing read any as what spoke the loudest amid the film's opening was the Crowds' resentment and armed reaction. I was out of college and, alone by myself, there was nothing to even spark curiousity about this new project. There was little to no discussion with myself to see it: the wide panning of it was where the conversation ended. It was a simplistic response, but so it goes; and so are the things and reactions of youth. A quick and tidy (if not competely clean) washing of the hands. The thing put away, and untempted, there it stays. New Kevin Smith movies came and went, my interest building to a mild recognition at the most and then dwindleing to nothing but a shrug as each subsequent film proved not to find any major chords in its largest audiences; his films becomeing much like small wakes from distantly passing boats that jostles the waters to a sound little above a half-asleep clapping, like neighborhood childhood half heard amidst a stupor. As far as my concern with the film career of Kevin Smith went, the decade after “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back!” passed with only a few jolts along the way (as with “Cop Out,” in which after happening to see Kevin Smith’s name attached to the trailer spot I said, out loud, “Kevin Smith DID THAT!?”) – at this point, his product was no longer recognizeable to me. It wasn’t until the limited release and mild critical furor surrounding his “Red State,” supposedly an angry Kevin Smith picture, that I finally starting thinking about him and his films again, movies which once meant so much to me. It had become like a friendship in which time and distance had created a wide division – I had no real desire to see the new film, even if the idea of a Kevin Smith horror film was a pretty novel one, but I did feel the pangs of a long separation and so I decided to revisit those old friends, those cynical but surprisingly sweet films of yore, those mad pastiches of working class intellectualism and jadedness and hopes for a future beyond the landscape maze of winter trees and smokestacks, abandoned, busted parking lots and the roar of garbage trucks, street hockey punks who trash talk constantly and the dim chance of happiness provided by the camaraderie of your best friends, co-workers, and those who band around a shared interest. I had grown nostalgic for all of these, and wondered if my return would be a warm one. For one, “Chasing Amy” has a candor to its occasional foolhardiness that is challangeing in the sheer raw earnestness of it all; an angry young man’s movie if there ever was one, but wrapped in the seamy glamour and levity of the world of comic book publishing. There is a bare-boned quality to it that is in stark contrast to the comic padding and good-natured plodding of Smith’s early films (such as a whole action sequence devoted to a battle with a poop monster, all in order to pay off on the joke of an archbishop blessing his golf clubs for a better golf score). It is one of the pinnacles of his career and it whetted my appetite for more. After cycling back through most of Kevin Smith’s early oeuvre, I decided finally to try one of the new films; and which better than one that many generally consider the beginning of his slide into the grips of “the Dark Side.” If it was a disaster than I need not feel any compunction to continue further viewing. While I expected a pandering towards mainstream audiences’ reliance upon sentimentality, I did not expect to see once again the artistic striveing so earnestly evident in “Chasing Amy.” Films have rarely been more Working Class, more confident of the world in which they exist. And beyound being George Carlin’s last on-screen performance, it deals freshly and honestly with themes and situations that have spawned many lesser films, ones that collapsed under the weight of their own trite melodrama and/or failure of imagination, bogged down and made faceless by a morass of genre conventions. It was a slice of life film that while somewhat preachy, won me over with its invention and insistence of itself: there were no cheap tricks, only characters and their choices (that is unless you consider Will Smith’s cameo as the hippest Dues Ex Machina ever). I was won back into the fold with “Jersey Girl,” and I look forward to what he challenges he allows himself in the future.
Oct. 8, 2012, 9:30 p.m. CST
Argo was pretty dope.It really has an interesting blend of humor and suspense. The last 25 minutes are killer.
Oct. 8, 2012, 9:42 p.m. CST
by ShakaLaka Lambo
Affleck was the bomb in phantoms though. Smells like somebody shit in theyre cereal ...bung!!!!
Oct. 8, 2012, 9:45 p.m. CST
by ShakaLaka Lambo
The internet is a comunication tool so people can bitch about movies and share pornography......classic
Oct. 8, 2012, 9:49 p.m. CST
by ShakaLaka Lambo
A Ben Affleck directed Justice League....who the hell would pay to see that?
Oct. 8, 2012, 10:44 p.m. CST
I think he's had less misfired than what most people think. though, dating JLo is a pretty big misfire in my book.
In short, I've always liked the guy and he comes off as quite intelligent. I hope he collaborates with Damon and/or Smith again in the future..at least once more. Now I just need to wait a few weeks to see Argo come out before I return to finally read this spoilerific interview.
Oct. 8, 2012, 11:45 p.m. CST
That was a good movie. Daredevil had a lot of missed potential, which was frustrating. Same with Jersey Girl, which wasn't that bad. Gigli was terrible though, just terrible.
Oct. 9, 2012, 12:22 a.m. CST
by Dan Lalonde
Oct. 9, 2012, 8:21 a.m. CST
Oct. 9, 2012, 8:30 a.m. CST
Can't wait for Ben to get a chance at a truly big scale film. Good stuff.
Oct. 9, 2012, 8:32 a.m. CST
by Andrew Coleman
Frankly I would if he stuck with crime and historical movies. We need more of that frankly. With comics and sci-fi, CGI can overwhelm a style. Three straight at bats and he's killed it. Love Ben Affleck I already can't wait for his next movie.
Oct. 9, 2012, 8:35 a.m. CST
by Rakesh Patel
by listening to this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27NHPcmk_wE&feature=related just fucking with you affleck, you're all right in my book.
Oct. 9, 2012, 11:28 a.m. CST
Who'd had thought it. He has created a hat-trick with "Gone Baby Gone", "The Town", and now "Argo". I don't think this Justice League adaptaton would do this newly established filmmaker title any credence to the subject matter - so, well left alone, Ben. An extremely elaborate interview Mr. Capone...Tip-top.
Oct. 9, 2012, 12:48 p.m. CST
the only reason this movie is being made is because the xionists want to take over the entire mid--east. the only place where there is no central bank is why they want war. we must bring about PEACE, because the self-perceived elitists who rule by proxy, want war. PEACE is the answer, no more wars for rich trillionaires.
Oct. 9, 2012, 12:50 p.m. CST
george clooney, who produced this flick, is a member of the C0uncil on Foreign Relations. 0bama and Cheney, amongst so many other 'high ranking' members of big gov, are all members. the CF-R was established to destroy our sovereignty. we must fight these people, we must bring PEACE to the world, and stop fighting wars for 'INTERNATI0NALISTS' who are merely following 'protocols.'
Oct. 9, 2012, 3:12 p.m. CST
by Retlaw Kciuq
No one is asking Ben the right question. If the reboot is in a few years, that's enough for Ben to do one more film and possibly start development with Batman.
Oct. 9, 2012, 8:36 p.m. CST
by Stifler's Mom
If you MUST reboot Batman, so soon after the gigantic misfire known as DARK KNIGHT RISES, give it to a guy who makes mature, no-bullshit thrillers. Affleck is now a better director than Chris Nolan. Gone Baby Gone & The Town & Argo > Inception & Dark Knight Rises. There, I said it. Cue the haters.
Oct. 9, 2012, 10:22 p.m. CST
by duke of url
yes, stay away please ben, stay away from the superhero crap,we already have to much! stick with what's real... stick with telling us great stories, ok? and one more thing.. 70's movies rule, suck it 80's
Oct. 9, 2012, 10:31 p.m. CST
by duke of url
Mean Streets (1973)
Oct. 10, 2012, 5:57 a.m. CST
Fuck you. I want a three part Crisis movie. Two CBM's passed the $1bn mark this year. No one is going to listen to you. Plus, If that 70's Daredevil appears what will you do then? "Durr... It's a 70's movie AND a CBM... Durr... Do I like it or not?"
Oct. 10, 2012, 6:04 a.m. CST
Oh yeh, lets keep those NON-genre directors away from making more incredible classics... duke_of_douchebag more like it
You're a fucking idiot.
Oct. 10, 2012, 6:31 a.m. CST
by duke of url
sound's like your life story ultimarex. birth-nothing-death
Oct. 10, 2012, 6:34 a.m. CST
by duke of url
your kidding right? name one "incredible classic" please?
Oct. 10, 2012, 6:36 a.m. CST
by duke of url
Oct. 10, 2012, 6:41 a.m. CST
by Bedknobs and Boomsticks
Oct. 10, 2012, 6:55 a.m. CST
Good Will Hunting was contrived with pseudo intellectual dialogue. Gone Baby Gone was awful. Filled with heavy handed characters, predictable and overly plotted story. Affleck's films are just him posing, pretending to be a smarter director than he is. I pray that he goes nowhere near Justice League. We need someone original and interesting to do something different.
Oct. 10, 2012, 7:19 a.m. CST
by duke of url
gotta be one hell of a pay day! ya' know how much nerds love to see the same movie twice (anything to forget reality for awhile)
Oct. 10, 2012, 7:50 a.m. CST
....George Carlin and the school production of Sweeny Todd? if so, yeah, i really enjoyed that too. did it not get good reviews? a very enjoyable interview this was, one i would put on the same level as the Stallone Q & A things from a few years ago.
Oct. 10, 2012, 8:23 a.m. CST
Don't tar me with your brush dickhead. You decided to be a nobody. Well you would have if you had a brain.
Oct. 10, 2012, 8:32 a.m. CST
Wah ha ha ha ha ha hhhaaaaaa... Weren't YOU the one bleating for more 70's movies? Here's a newsflash for you moron: The 70's happened. It's not coming back. You want a 70's movie? There a WHOLE 10 YEARS WORTH TO PICK FROM. IT'S 2012 NOW. NEXT YEAR IT'S 2013. AND IT NEVER GOES IN REVERSE. THERE'S YOUR FUCKING "REALITY" FOR YOU. Now choke on it.
Oct. 10, 2012, 9 a.m. CST
If I was transcribing my own interview and I made a joke, I'd throw that in there too. In fact, I'd go a step further and add: [You Laugh]
Oct. 10, 2012, 10:49 a.m. CST
by duke of url
Fuck you, fucking dickhead moron
Oct. 10, 2012, 10:58 a.m. CST
by duke of url
They're not coming back
Oct. 10, 2012, 11:04 a.m. CST
by duke of url
There's an entire 10 years worth to choose from
Oct. 10, 2012, 11:10 a.m. CST
by duke of url
Ultimarex must be a real bigshot around here!
Oct. 10, 2012, 11:20 a.m. CST
Mr. Bong, to answer your question, at first I began to wonder if my memories at that film's release were faulty or not, so I decided to take a trip to RottenTomatoes. It got 41% rateing.
Oct. 10, 2012, 11:20 a.m. CST
And that was even the mainstream media - not the geek subculture prevalent around here. The consensus was, "Full of cloying sentimental cliches."
Oct. 10, 2012, 11:22 a.m. CST
But it honestly was not the film you would imagine reading the "critical opinion." It has touches of melodrama, but is much smarter than that. (Guess it was just the one movie where the opinion towards Smith began to turn.)
Oct. 10, 2012, 11:26 a.m. CST
Oct. 10, 2012, 11:38 a.m. CST
Glad you like it. Now piss off.
Oct. 10, 2012, 1:22 p.m. CST
by duke of url
translation=kill me now, I have no life... Pathetic.
Oct. 10, 2012, 1:46 p.m. CST
...to agree with the guy who guessed that Scirocco is Asimovlives. No doubt in my mind.
Oct. 10, 2012, 2:19 p.m. CST
What with you having no brain.
Oct. 10, 2012, 2:26 p.m. CST
We've all moved on. Welcome to the 21st century. We know you'll hate it but we also know that you don't have a choice. Deal with it.
Oct. 10, 2012, 2:44 p.m. CST
They've quickly become the current cornerstone of mainstream cinema. Could you imagine the 2012 box office and disc sales without the Avengers and TDKR? And without that CBM money studios would be in trouble. And what's the first thing they'd cut? Your precious 70's remastered blu-rays. I think you owe CBM's an apology. Of course you are far too pretentious for that...
Oct. 10, 2012, 5:50 p.m. CST
by albert comin
You're right, of course. But it would be nice to see more movies inspired by 70s cinema.
Oct. 10, 2012, 9:45 p.m. CST
by duke of url
They've quickly become the current cornerstone of mainstream cinema.
Oct. 10, 2012, 9:49 p.m. CST
by duke of url
Oct. 10, 2012, 11:31 p.m. CST
5 words btw
Oct. 11, 2012, 1:24 a.m. CST
blaxploitation/kung-fu/superhero style. Hire Tarantino.
Oct. 11, 2012, 3:39 a.m. CST
Oct. 11, 2012, 6:31 a.m. CST
Oct. 11, 2012, 6:44 a.m. CST
Oct. 11, 2012, 1:51 p.m. CST
Fuck a Gigli sequel, give me Christopher Walken in a Det. Stanley Jacobellis movie. Affleck can "direct" which in this instance would be keeping the camera on Walken and trying not to laugh. To wit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Jnx4H4LZTU
Oct. 13, 2012, 1:43 a.m. CST
"name one "incredible classic" please? " OMFG Were you born fucking yesterday you idiot? #1 ALIEN (Scott was NOT a genre director)
#2 Robocop #3 2001 OMFG Are you a total moron?
Oct. 13, 2012, 9:24 p.m. CST
Oct. 13, 2012, 10:15 p.m. CST
by The Marquis de Side 3
Oct. 13, 2012, 10:15 p.m. CST
by The Marquis de Side 3
Oct. 14, 2012, 2:17 a.m. CST
by affleck bomb phantoms
Just had to comment as I have had this online name on here for years. In all seriousness though Ben Affleck has only got better and better over the years and that resurgence started with Hollywoodland.
Oct. 29, 2012, 7:08 p.m. CST
Oct. 30, 2012, 7:41 a.m. CST
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