Monday, January 10, 2011

Ben Affleck

Thursday night I attended a sold-out double feature of The Town and Gone Baby Gone with a Q&A from Ben Affleck between films.

I've always liked him ever since he made fun of himself on Saturday Night Live, but my respect for him grew tremendously at this event.

While looking to see if anyone has posted the Q&A I found video footage of him going in and out of the theater. He was absolutely mobbed by people shoving things in his face to sign and cameras to get a picture. It must be so fucking annoying to have thirty thousand people shouting questions and demanding photographs with them and yelling at you about how they're from Boston and they love the Celtics. Yet he patiently signed stuff, made a comment about the Celtics, and posed for several pictures before he got in his car to go.

When he entered the theater after The Town screened, people stood up. I did not stand up because I apparently am one of the few Americans who does not stand up for every fucking thing ever, but Ben motioned shyly for everybody to sit down. He look at the floor and waved his hand. He was uncomfortable.

During the Q&A the interviewer mentioned how tremendous Ben was in The Town and lavished praise on him. Ben waved him off and shook his head, looking down at the floor. He said that 90% of what he saw in the editing room he absolutely hated. He loved everyone else's performance, but he didn't like his own.

In pretty much every interview he's done since Gone Baby Gone somebody asks him what it was like to direct his brother. First question at this Q&A: yep. "Ben, what was it like directing your brother?"

Not only did he act like he had never heard this question before, but he gave a new answer - at least one I haven't heard yet, anyway. He said he learned about speaking up as an actor, because his brother wasn't afraid of him so he said what was on his mind, and Ben usually keeps his issues to himself when filming.

When asked what advice he would give to new filmmakers he said "Don't do a movie with your girlfriend."

He talked about how much he has learned about cinematography, how his mom called to tell him Gone Baby Gone is high on Netflix and does he get any money from that? He asked us to stay in our seats until he left the theater so he didn't have to see us walk out before Gone Baby Gone (I stayed) and admitted he was relieved as hell that he had a packed crowd. He was afraid the place would be empty.

For a guy who won an academy award at 25 and has been an A-lister at the center of the Paparazzi's world, I'd say he's pretty damn well adjusted. I'd work with him in a heartbeat.


  1. Anonymous11:48 AM

    Bummed I wasn't in LA for this - he's very impressive - I've always been on Team Ben, even when others were razzing him. Would love more (a beat sheet?) things learned from the q&a. thnx.

  2. His Creative Screenwriting Q&A podcast for The Town gives some great insight into what you're talking about, as well providing a nice look at his thoughts about making that film.

  3. Anon, I didn't take notes. Just listened.

    It was a mixed group of people so he didn't just talk about writing.

  4. Nice. Enjoyed this post. I've never been a huge Affleck fan, but I have to say his directing track record is incredibly impressive. He's someone to watch.

    Where did The Town rank for her amid your favs from this year?

  5. The Town was probably my second favorite film of the year, right behind 127 Hours.


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