If You Take One Thing Away from This Playboy Interview with Ben Affleck, It's that the Man Profoundly Loves His Wife
Playboy has posted a lengthy and fantastic interview with Ben Affleck, where he talks about his role in Batman vs. Superman, his career trajectory, his experiences on several of his movies, his political ambitions, and even the dangers that the paparazzi pose to his children. Echoing the sentiments of Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, he says “it’s wrong and disgusting to follow children around and take their picture and sell it for money,” and talks about Jennifer Garner’s role in helping to get a law passed prohibiting the paparazzi from harassing celebrity children in California. It’s definitely worth a read, but going through it, the thing that stood out most to me is just how profoundly the man adores his wife and how instrumental she was in helping him to resurrect his career.
Here’s a few choice quotes from the piece pertaining to Garner:
On how he dug himself out of a hole after a series of flops:
I thought, Okay, I want to get out of this. My wife was definitely around then. Getting to know her, falling in love with her and being connected with her gave me a foundation to reach out and say, Okay, I’m going to do Hollywoodland; I’m going to direct Gone Baby Gone. Those were the steps forward I needed to put positive stuff on the board. She is by leaps and bounds the most important person to me in that respect. Over the past 10 years she has allowed me to have a stable home life while accomplishing my professional goals
On how Jennifer Garner helped to give him the confidence to dig himself out of that hole:
I was frustrated. A lot of smart people out there made choices they thought would work on some of these movies. Some of it is luck. Everybody has movies that don’t work; I just had a run of them. But I also looked at it and said, “I didn’t work hard enough. I wasn’t diligent enough. I wasn’t dedicated enough.” I made that realization. But once I’d made it, the most critical thing was that she said, “If you’re going to work 24 hours a day, that’s cool. I’m going to be here.” That allowed me to think, Okay, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to kill myself over this next period of time.
On why he and Jennifer Garner don’t make any more movies together:
Well, my wife and I made Pearl Harbor and Daredevil. With our track record, I don’t know if anyone’s looking for a three-quel … [We’re not exactly Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn] .. I think it doesn’t work. It’s already hard to get people to suspend disbelief, and then you have married couples in the same movie. People know about the marriage, and they’re not willing to acknowledge the couple as anything else. And marriage is boring to people. They say, “I’m married 20 years. I love my wife, but I have that at home.” People want to see the kindling of new romance in movies. It’s exciting, but not when it’s a couple they know has been together for 10 years.
On Pearl Harbor, where he met his wife:
Pearl Harbor was a wonderful experience. I got to know my wife, and there were a lot of people I liked. It was a disappointment because I thought we were making an iconic movie that could have been made before the war, a Titanic kind of movie. It ultimately ended up being like Armageddon in World War II. You can make Armageddon about oil drillers on an asteroid. You can’t make Armageddon about the Doolittle Raid because that’s history and people take that seriously. You talked about being picky over historical accuracy. Michael Bay, the director, wanted a more commercial tone, and it was commercial, a big hit. People say Pearl Harbor was a bomb. It was absolutely not. It did half a billion dollars, but it became a light piece of entertainment.
That’s where I found my wife. We met on Pearl Harbor, which people hate, but we fell in love on Daredevil. By the way, she won most of the fights in the movie, which was a pretty good predictor of what would happen down the road—my wife, holding swords and beating the living shit out of me.
On his fears going into directing Gone Baby Gone:
I was terrified. Everybody said, “This is going to suck. Ben Affleck is directing. This movie’s going to be shit.” I was very discouraged by it and didn’t have a lot of support from anybody really, except my wife. And Matt [Damon].