Ben Affleck's Playboy Interview January 2014

Ben Affleck on His BFF, Bad-Boy Past, and Batman Backlash

Just a heads-up: if there's anything you've ever wanted to know about Ben Affleck, it's probably in his recent Playboy interview. The Oscar-winning actor, who is currently filming the big-screen adaptation of Gone Girl, sat down for the sexy men's magazine and proceeded to cover everything from his career highs and lows and Academy Award wins to politics and his bad-boy past. Ben also opens up about his longtime bromance with Matt Damon, as well as the other love of his life, Jennifer Garner — he had some especially aww-inducing things to say about falling for his wife back in 2003. In addition to reflecting on the past, Ben also spoke out about his future projects, namely the epic backlash that erupted after he was cast as the new Batman: "If I thought the result would be another Daredevil, I'd be out there picketing myself."

Here's more — way more — from Ben Affleck's Playboy interview:

On His Bromance With Matt Damon

"Matt just moved down the street from me, so he lives closer to me now than when we were growing up together in Boston. Our kids hang out together; we have barbecues. I was at his place two nights ago. 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.

"We would take the train from Boston to New York to audition. We both felt, 'Look, I want to get the part, but if it's not me, I want it to be you.' It was a healthy way of acknowledging you want what you want, but you're also rooting for the other guy."

On His Career Highs and Lows

"[Gigli] was widely mocked because it had a funny name and overlapped with the tabloid situation. It became a perfect storm. Then Paycheck was mediocre, Surviving Christmas was bad, and I sunk into a morass. I thought, 'OK, I want to get out of this.' My wife [Jennifer Garner] was definitely around then. Getting to know her, falling in love with her, and being connected with her gave me a foundation. 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.

"The only movie I actually regret is Daredevil. It just kills me. I love that story, that character, and the fact that it got f*cked up the way it did stays with me. Maybe that's part of the motivation to do Batman."

Reflecting on His 2013 Oscar Win For Argo. . .

"There had been plenty of moments when I didn't know where I was going to end up. I had been kicked around some and maybe left for dead. I’m not a great believer in awards and the idea that some movie is best, because it's subjective. But standing there at the Academy Awards eased some of the pain and frustration I'd been carrying. I loved movies and felt I knew how to make good ones and had something to offer, but there was a time when I wasn't sure I would be invited to try anymore."

. . . and Good Will Hunting in 1998

"Matt [Damon] and I just thought, 'Let’s take our moms.' We knew they'd want to go. We go down the red carpet and see all these journalists from TV. We're starstruck; 'Holy sh*t, is that Roger Ebert?'

"I’ll never forget the first thought I had [when they read our names] — that I hadn't given one second of thought to what I might say. You are an idiot. You come to the Academy Awards and didn't prepare anything, not even secretly in your mind.

"Matt said, 'Go ahead, talk first.' Only later did I realize his show of graciousness was designed to give him a minute to prepare what he was going to say. I mumbled a bunch of stupid things. I thanked Boston twice. Probably once would have been enough. We'd won the Golden Globe, but I think the only other thing I'd ever won was some Little League trophies when I was 12. I look back on the whole thing ruefully. I had no perspective. I thanked Cuba Gooding Jr. — by now I was just saying stuff. We high-fived everybody. I hugged Denzel Washington as we were coming off stage and he was going on. Why did I hug Denzel Washington? Maybe he didn't want to be hugged by me, a stranger. I felt like such an idiot afterward, but I have to say, we had a lot of fun that night."

See what Ben had to say about the Batman backlash, his bad-boy past, and making movies with Jennifer Garner when you keep reading.

On That Whole "Ben Affleck Shouldn't Be Batman" Thing

"I expected that reaction. Warner Bros. told me, 'You should know what you’re getting into.' They showed me the reactions to other folks who had been cast in these roles. They said this is how it tends to play out initially. When people see it, it will make more sense than it does now or even than it did to me initially.

"I understand I'm at a disadvantage with the Internet. If I thought the result would be another Daredevil, I'd be out there picketing myself. [laughs] Why would I make the movie if I didn't think it was going to be good and that I could be good in it?

"I've learned it doesn't matter what people think before a movie comes out; what matters is what people think when they see the movie. There's a lot of noise in the world, and the Internet magnifies that energy. My focus is on the actual execution of the movie. It seems odd to me to criticize casting if you haven't read the script and don't know the tone or the take. But the casting of high-profile projects seems to generate negative attention; it's fun to give your thumbs-up or thumbs-down."

On Being Young in Hollywood

"I showed up in Hollywood, and all of a sudden girls were talking to me. I thought, 'Wow, what changed?' So I had a lot of girlfriends and a lot of fun. I definitely ran around, and I hit the wall a few times and made some mistakes. But that's part of a young man growing up. I think it was the only natural reaction to the situation I found myself in. It's part of what has allowed me to have more perspective now as an older guy."

On Making Movies With Jennifer Garner (or Not)

"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 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 sh*t out of me.

"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. 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 Campaigning For Hillary Clinton in 2016

"I haven't abandoned it, but I look at working in politics again with a more jaundiced eye. Hillary does excite me, in the same way the potent symbolism of the first African American president was what thrilled people about Obama. It's similar with Hillary and gender equality. The idea that 100 years after women got the right to vote, to have a woman president would be exciting."

On His Guilty Pleasures

"A 1966 Chevelle, and the slight guilt comes from its carbon footprint. [laughs] I try to stay away from too much guilty stuff. Between working and then being home and spending time with my kids, I don't have too much time. I still have my motorcycle, which I don't drive too often. You have to have something, some contact with that part of yourself that's not just putting shoes on kids."

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