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Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck
File:Ben Affleck SDCC 2014 (cropped).jpg
Born Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt
(1972-08-15) August 15, 1972 (age 47)
Berkeley, California, U.S.
Alma mater University of Vermont
Occidental College
Occupation Actor, filmmaker
Years active 1981–present
Spouse(s) Jennifer Garner (m. 2005)
Children 3
Relatives Casey Affleck (brother)

Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt (born August 15, 1972), better known as Ben Affleck, is an American actor and filmmaker. Throughout his career, he has won two Academy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards.

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 Daredevil and the much-derided Gigli (both 2003), Affleck received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in Hollywoodland (2006). His directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone, which he also wrote, was well received in 2007. He then directed, wrote and starred in The Town (2010). For the political thriller 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: Dawn of Justice, 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 a stalwart 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 Jennifer Garner in 2005. The couple have two daughters and a son together.

Early life

Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt was born in Berkeley, California.[1] His parents named him Géza for a Hungarian friend who survived the Holocaust.[2] The surname "Affleck" is of Scottish origin; he also has English, Irish, German and Swiss ancestry.[3][4][5] His mother, Christopher Anne "Chris" (née Boldt),[6][7] 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 30 years,[8][9] and her mother's second husband, Samuel Shaw, an attorney.[10][11][12][13] Chris's father, O'Brien "Obie" Boldt, was a Democratic activist and professor of political science at the City University of New York.[14][15][16][17] Chris was educated at Radcliffe College and Harvard University,[18][19] and taught at The Brearley School before working as a public elementary school teacher for 30 years.[20][21] One of Affleck's maternal five times great-grandfathers was congressman Adam Rankin Alexander.[22]

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[23][24][25] and worked alongside Dustin Hoffman,[26][27] Robert Duvall, Blythe Danner,[28] Jon Voight[29][30] and James Woods.[31][32] During Affleck's childhood, Timothy worked as an auto mechanic,[33][34] a carpenter,[35] a bookie,[29][36] an electrician,[28] a bartender[37] and a janitor at Harvard University.[38][39] While Affleck has described his father as a "very smart guy",[40] his chronic alcoholism often made Affleck's childhood "scary and trying."[28][41] His parents divorced when he was eleven and Affleck was raised by his mother.[31][35] His father's life "hit the skids" in Affleck's teens.[29][41][42] When Affleck was sixteen, his father moved to Indio, California, completed rehabilitation, became an addiction counselor and later reconnected with his adult sons.[28][43][44][45]

The family moved to Massachusetts when Affleck was two;[33] living in Falmouth, where his brother Casey was born, before settling in Central Square, Cambridge.[46] Affleck was raised in a politically active, "very left-wing" household.[29][47][48] He 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.[46][49][50] The brothers auditioned for roles in local commercials and film productions because of their mother's friendship with a casting director.[37][51] Affleck first acted professionally at the age of seven.[52] His mother saved his wages in a college trust fund[31][31][46][47][53] and hoped her son would ultimately become a teacher, worrying that acting was an insecure and "frivolous" profession.[54] David Wheeler, a family friend, was Affleck's acting coach and later described him as a "very bright and intensely curious" child.[55][56] 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.[46][57][58][59] Affleck later said that he has mixed feelings about his experiences as a child actor.[46][60][61][62]

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.[63] Their mothers, who both worked in education and were acquaintances, made the introduction and encouraged them to spend time together.[51][64][65][66] They became extremely close while high school students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin.[46] Although they were in different grades, the friends had "identical interests" and spent their lunch breaks discussing their plans to become actors.[46][64][67] Both were greatly inspired by their high school drama teacher Gerry Speca[68][69][70] and, as teenagers, they traveled to New York for acting auditions, saving money for train and airline tickets in a joint bank account.[67][71] They had many summer jobs together, working as construction workers and cinema ushers.[66][72][73]

While Affleck had high SAT scores,[31][47] he was an unfocused high school student with poor attendance.[31][41][74] 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.[75] He then moved to Los Angeles, studying Middle Eastern affairs at Occidental College for a year and a half.[76][77][78] Affleck dropped out when a creative writing professor ridiculed an early draft of the Good Will Hunting screenplay.[29][79]

Film career

1981–97: Child actor and Good Will Hunting

Affleck acted professionally throughout 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."[80] He first appeared, at the age of seven, in a local independent film called Dark Side of the Street (1981), directed by a family friend.[53][81] His biggest success as a child actor was 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. Affleck worked "sporadically" on Mimi from the age of eight to fifteen in both Gloucester, Massachusetts and Mexico.[80] As a teenager, Affleck appeared in the ABC after school special Wanted: A Perfect Man (1986),[82] the television movie Hands of a Stranger (1987)[80] and a 1989 Burger King commercial.[70]

After high school, Affleck moved briefly to New York in search of acting work.[80] Later, while studying at Occidental College in Los Angeles, Affleck directed student films including one written by and starring his longtime friend Jay Lacopo.[29][83][84][85][86] As an actor, he had a series of "knock-around parts, one to the next".[80] He played Patrick Duffy's son in the television movie Daddy (1991), made an uncredited appearance as a basketball player in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie (1992) and had a supporting role as an anti-Semite in School Ties (1992).[87] He played a football coach in the television series Against the Grain (1993) and a steroid-abusing high school football player in Body to Die For: The Aaron Henry Story (1994). Affleck's most notable role during this period was as a high school bully in Richard Linklater's cult classic Dazed and Confused (1993).[88] Linklater sought a likeable actor for the supporting role and, while Affleck was "big and imposing," he was "so smart and full of life ... I just liked him."[89][90][91] Affleck spent a summer in Austin, Texas while filming the movie and later said the most valuable lesson was how Linklater "empowered actors to improvise."[29][92]

Affleck's first starring film role was as an aimless art student in the college drama Glory Daze (1995), with Stephen Holden of the New York Times remarking that his "affably mopey performance finds just the right balance between obnoxious and sad sack."[80][93] He then played a bully in the comedy 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 writer-director Kevin Smith during filming, and Smith wrote the lead role in his romantic comedy Chasing Amy (1997) for Affleck.[52][80][94] Chasing Amy was a landmark moment for the actor.[52][95] 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."[96] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly wrote of a "wholesome and quick-witted" performance.[97] Also in 1997, he starred as a recently returned Korean War veteran in the coming-of-age drama Going All the Way. Todd McCarthy of Variety found him "excellent"[98] while Janet Maslin of The New York Times noted that his "flair for comic self-doubt made a strong impression."[99]

The success of 1997's Good Will Hunting, which Affleck co-wrote and starred in, marked a significant turning point in his career. The screenplay originated in 1992 when Damon wrote a 40-page script for a playwriting class at Harvard University. He asked Affleck to act out the scenes with him for the class and, when Damon later moved into Affleck's Los Angeles apartment, they began working on the script in earnest.[64] The film, which they wrote mainly during improvisation sessions,[72] was set in their hometown of Cambridge and drew from their own experiences.[35][44][100] They sold the screenplay to Castle Rock in 1994, when Affleck was 22 years old. During the development process, they received notes from Rob Reiner, William Goldman and Terrence Malick (a friend of Affleck's godfather.)[63][101] Following a lengthy dispute with Castle Rock regarding a suitable director, Affleck and Damon persuaded Miramax to purchase the screenplay.[35] The two friends moved back to Boston for a year before the film finally went into production, directed by Gus Van Sant and co-starring Damon, Affleck and Robin Williams.[72] Upon release, Janet Maslin of the New York Times praised the "smart and touching screenplay"[102] while Emanuel Levy of Variety found it "funny, nonchalant, moving and angry."[103] The film was a commercial success. Affleck and Damon won both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.[29] 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!'"[75]

1998–2002: Leading man status

1998's Armageddon established Affleck as a viable leading man for Hollywood studio blockbusters.[104] After his screentest, director Michael Bay dismissed Affleck as "a geek" but was convinced by producer Jerry Bruckheimer that he would be a star.[54] Affleck was required to lose weight, become tanned and get his teeth capped before filming began.[105] He starred opposite Bruce Willis as a blue-collar driller tasked by NASA with stopping an asteroid colliding with Earth. Daphne Merkin of The New Yorker remarked: "Affleck demonstrates a sexy Paul Newmanish charm and is clearly bound for stardom."[106] Later in 1998, Affleck had a supporting role as an arrogant English actor in the period romantic comedy 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,"[107] while Janet Maslin of the New York Times found him "very funny."[108] 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. Affleck then appeared as a small-town sherriff in the supernatural horror film Phantoms.[80] Stephen Holden of The New York Times wondered how actors like Affleck and Peter O'Toole were "bamboozled into lending their talents to a junky little horror film": "Affleck's thudding performance suggests he is reading his dialogue for the first time, directly from cue cards."[109]

Affleck and Damon had an onscreen reunion in Kevin Smith's religious satire Dogma (1999). Janet Maslin of the New York Times remarked that the pair, playing fallen angels, "bring great, understandable enthusiasm to Mr. Smith's smart talk and wild imaginings."[110] Affleck also 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. Owen 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."[111] Joe Leydon of Variety praised "his winning ability to play against his good looks in a self-effacing comic turn."[112] Affleck then appeared opposite Courtney Love in the little-seen ensemble comedy 200 Cigarettes.[113]

Affleck's next role was as a hardened criminal opposite Charlize Theron in the action thriller Reindeer Games (2000). After expressing an interest in a directorial career, Affleck shadowed John Frankenheimer throughout the pre-production process.[54] Frankenheimer, directing his final feature film, 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."[114] Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times enjoyed the unexpected casting choice: "Affleck often suggests one of the Kennedys playing Clark Kent ... He looks as if he has never missed a party or a night's sleep. He's game, though, and his slight dislocation works to the advantage of Reindeer Games.[115] Affleck then had a supporting role as a ruthless stockbroker in the crima drama Boiler Room (2000).[116] A.O. Scott of The New York Times felt Affleck's performance was "traced over" Alec Baldwin's performance in Glengarry Glen Ross.[117] However, Emanuel Levy of Variety praised his "bravura turn"[118] while Peter Rainer of New York Magazine said he "does a series of riffs on Baldwin's aria, and each one is funnier and crueler than the next."[119] In his final film role of 2000, Affleck starred opposite his girlfriend Paltrow in the romantic drama Bounce (2000).[120] Stephen Holden of The New York Times praised "the understated intensity and exquisite detail of his performance ... 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."[121] Also in 2000, he provided the voice of Joseph in the animated Joseph: King of Dreams.

In 2001, Affleck starred in Michael Bay's war film Pearl Harbor. The film opened to a negative reception,[122][123] but was a box-office success.[124] A.O. Scott of The New York Times felt Affleck and Kate Beckinsale "do what they can with their lines, and glow with the satiny shine of real movie stars."[125] However, Todd McCarthy of Variety felt "the blandly handsome Affleck couldn’t convince that he’d ever so much as been turned down for a date, much less lost the love of his life to his best friend."[126] Also in 2001, Affleck appeared in Kevin Smith's comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, parodying Good Will Hunting with Damon and Van Sant.[127] 2001 also saw the release of the comedy Daddy and Them, filmed three years previously, in which Affleck and Jamie Lee Curtis briefly appeared as married lawyers.[128]

In 2002, Affleck starred opposite Samuel L. Jackson in the thriller Changing Lanes.[129][130] He later said the film was an "amazing experience," and that he learned from director Roger Michell.[80] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian enjoyed the "strongly acted two-hander ... Affleck particularly shows how convincing he can be as the besuited corporate asshole."[131] 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."[132] Also 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. Stephen Holden of The New York Times believed he was miscast: "Although Mr. Affleck can be appealing when playing earnest young men groping toward maturity, he simply lacks the gravitas for the role."[133] Also in 2002, he appeared in The Third Wheel and was named Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine.[55]

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.[134][135] The four created the documentary series Project Greenlight, as well as the failed mystery-hybrid series Push, Nevada, among other projects.[136] Project Greenlight was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Program in 2002, 2004, and 2005.[137]

2003–05: Career downturn and tabloid notoriety

In 2003, Affleck was the subject of much tabloid media attention due to his relationship with Jennifer Lopez. The actor himself remarked that the increased media attention filled him with a sense of "dread ... People are going to grow weary of this."[138] By the end of the year, Affleck had become, in the words of GQ, the "world's most over-exposed actor."[139] His newfound tabloid notoriety coincided with a series of poorly received films.

The first of these films was Daredevil (2003), in which Affleck starred as the blind superhero. Years earlier, he had written a foreword for a comic book about his childhood love for Daredevil.[138][140][141] The movie received a mixed response from both critics and audiences, the latter of whom were far more negative towards Affleck's performance in the film. Elvis Mitchell of the New York Times felt Affleck was "lost" in the role: "A big man, Mr. Affleck is shriveled by the one-dimensional role ... [Only his scenes with Jon Favreau have] a playful side that allows Mr. Affleck to show his generosity as an actor. Otherwise, as hard as he tries, he seems more wounded than capable."[142] Daredevil grossed over $179 million worldwide.[143] In 2014, Affleck said Daredevil was the "only movie I actually regret."[29] Affleck next appeared in Gigli (2003), co-starring Lopez.[144] Gigli received almost uniformly unfavorable reviews, with Manohla Dargis of the Los Angeles Times remarking: "A passable actor but a lousy star -- the bigger the movie, the worse he comes across -- Affleck doesn't have the chops or the charm to maneuver around (or past) bad material."[145] Affleck has repeatedly defended director Marty Brest since the film's release,[146] describing Brest as "one of the really great directors" and Midnight Run as his favourite film.[147][148] He thanked Brest in his 2013 Oscar acceptance speech for Argo's Best Picture win.[149] In his final movie role of 2003, Affleck starred in the thriller Paycheck (2003). Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian remarked upon Affleck's "self-deprecating charm. Is there no one who can find this man a script?"[150] Similarly, Manohla Dargis of the Los Angeles Times commented: "Ben Affleck has had such a rough year (or so I've read) that it almost seems unfair to pick on either his newest film or latest nontabloid performance." Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly felt the film offers further proof that Affleck "comes most alive playing men whose handsomeness covers reserves of nastiness."[151]

Affleck's poor critical notices continued in 2004. He starred in the romantic comedy Jersey Girl, directed by longtime collaborator Smith. Stephen Holden of the New York Times described Affleck as an actor "whose talent has curdled as his tabloid notoriety has spread."[152] However, Joe Leydon of Variety found his onscreen role as a father "affecting"[153] while Mike Clark of USA Today remarked that the father-daughter scenes "bring out the best in Affleck."[154] Later that year, he starred in the holiday comedy Surviving Christmas. Stephen Holden of the New York Times remarked that the movie "found a clever way to use Ben Affleck's disagreeable qualities. The actor's shark-like grin, cocky petulance and bullying frat-boy swagger befit his character."[155] Allison Benedikt of the Los Angeles Times described Affleck as a "great talk show guest, bad actor" and categorised Surviving Christmas as a film "in which it just doesn't matter, in which he can simply be Ben."[156]

At this point, the quality of scripts offered to Affleck "was just getting worse and worse" and he decided to take a career break: "I was a little bit exhausted of myself and my life, so I wanted to try to control it or manage it."[116][157] The Los Angeles Times published a piece on the downfall of Affleck's career in late 2004: "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." Various producers and agents were interviewed. Harvey Weinstein commented: "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."[158]

2006–13: Critical acclaim as a director

Affleck began to stage a comeback in 2006. While both Man About Town and Smokin' Aces were little-seen,[159] Affleck won acclaim for his performance as George Reeves in the noir biopic Hollywoodland.[160] 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."[161] Geoffrey Macnab of The Guardian wrote: "He plays the part beautifully, capturing the character's curious mix of charm, vulnerability and fatalism."[162] 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."[163] He was awarded the Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.[164] Also in 2006, he made a cameo in Kevin Smith's Clerks II.[165] While Affleck remains a fan of Smith's work,[166][167] they have communicated mainly via email since 2005.[168][169]

File:AffleckHollywood Walk of Fame.png
Affleck at Bruce Willis's Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in 2006

In 2007, Affleck made his feature film directorial debut with Gone Baby Gone, a crime drama set in a working-class Boston neighbourhood, starring his brother Casey.[170][171] Affleck co‑wrote the screenplay, based on the book by Dennis Lehane, with childhood friend Aaron Stockard, having first mentioned his intention to adapt the story in 2003.[172] It opened to rave reviews.[173][174] Jim Ridley of the Village Voice remarked: "Affleck has created something of a blue-moon rarity: an American movie of genuine moral complexity."[175] Claudia Puig of USA Today described it as "an auspicious debut as a filmmaker"[176] while 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."[177] Similarly, Stephen Farber of The Hollywood Reporter praised the "thoughtful, deeply poignant, splendidly executed" film.[178]

In 2009, Affleck returned to acting, starring in three features. In He's Just Not That Into You, an ensemble romantic comedy, he acted opposite both Jennifer Aniston and Bradley Cooper.[179] The film generated mostly mixed reviews,[180] but was a box-office success, earning $165 million worldwide.[143] In State of Play, Affleck played Congressman Stephen Collins. The film is a political thriller which explores the relationship between politicians and the media.[181] In the comedy film Extract, Affleck played an offbeat bartender.[182] His performance in the film was well received. Claudia Puig of USA Today stated that Affleck "ought to do more quirky character roles rather than leading-man parts in action films."[183] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone described his performance as "a goofball delight"[184] while Manhola Dargis of The New York Times declared it as "a real performance."[185] In 2010, Affleck starred in The Company Men as a mid-level sales executive who is made redundant during the financial crisis.[186] His performance received positive reviews. David Denby of The New Yorker declared that Affleck "gives his best performance yet."[187] 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."[188] Richard Corliss of Time found he "nails Bobby's plunge from hubris to humiliation."[189]

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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.[190] Following the modest success of Gone Baby Gone, Warner Brothers Pictures had offered Affleck his choice of the studio's scripts.[191][192][192][193] Along with directing and co-writing the film, Affleck was part of a cast that included Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Chris Cooper and Blake Lively. A.O. Scott of the New York Times praised Affleck's "skill and self-confidence as a director."[194] Claudia Puig of USA Today remarked: "Affleck has a keen eye for cinematic stories ... He may be en route to master-filmmaker status."[195] 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."[196] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times praised his "genuine gift for directing."[197]

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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.[198] Anthony Lane of The New Yorker said the film offered "further proof that we were wrong about Ben Affleck."[199] 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."[200] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times was impressed by Affleck's "instinct for storytelling."[201] 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."[202] 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.[203] He also won the Critic's Choice and BAFTA awards for Best Director.[204][205][206][207]

Affleck starred opposite Olga Kurylenko and Rachel McAdams in To the Wonder (2013), a romantic drama written and directed by Terrence Malick. The New Yorker 's Richard Brody described Affleck as "a solid and muscular performer" who "conveys a sense of thoughtful and willful individuality without weighing himself down with the emphatic acting-out of character traits."[208] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian praised "a performance of dignity and sensitivity"[209] while New York Magazine's David Edelstein wondered why Malick chose to put "the camera behind Affleck’s broad back so that he becomes Everyhunk."[210] Also in 2013, he starred in gambling thriller Runner Runner. The film received poor reviews but Affleck's performance as a poker boss was perceived as a highlight. Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post declared that his "nasty, natty crime lord is the one vivid character to pop out from an otherwise humdrum exercise."[211] Andrew Barker of Variety: "Affleck threatens to make this whole film worthwhile ... Runner Runner’s appeal increases dramatically whenever Affleck enters the frame."[212] Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times remarked that it was "one killer of a character, and Affleck plays him like a Bach concerto — every note perfectly played."[213]

2014–present: Gone Girl and Batman v Superman

File:Affleck SAG.png
Affleck arrives at the 2014 SAG Awards

Affleck starred as a husband accused of murder in David Fincher's crime thriller Gone Girl in 2014. He has said working with Fincher was "instructive and inspirational."[214] 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."[215] 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."[216] 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."[217]

Affleck will play Batman in the 2016 superhero film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.[218] The casting of Affleck as Batman met with backlash from comicbook fans. In early 2015, Affleck began filming Gavin O'Connor's The Accountant, in which he will star as a mild-mannered accountant who also works as a lethal assassin.[219][220] 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.[221] (Their production company Pearl Street Films is named after the street that ran between their Cambridge homes.)[222] In July 2015, Affleck will begin filming his fourth directorial project, Live by Night, an adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel.[223] Affleck wrote the adapted screenplay for the "big, sweeping gangster-epic morality story."[29][224][225] The film, scheduled for release in late 2016,[226] will co-star Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller and Elle Fanning.[227] Affleck will then reteam with Gone Girl's Fincher and Gillian Flynn for a loose remake of Strangers on a Train; he will star as a movie star – in the middle of a campaign for an Oscar during awards season – whose private plane breaks down. In 2017, he is scheduled to reprise his role as Batman in Justice League Part One[228] and Justice League Part Two in 2018.

Humanitarian work

Eastern Congo Initiative

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.[229] 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."[230] During two 2008 trips, Affleck reported on the humanitarian crisis for ABC News Nightline[231] and directed a short film, Gimme Shelter, for the UN Refugee Agency.[232] He spoke at the Combating Global Poverty event during the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[233][234] In 2009, he wrote an essay for Time[235] and spoke at the Global Leadership Awards.[236][237] Affleck also served as the executive producer of the HBO documentary film Reporter (2009), which focused on Kristof's work in the Congo.[238] After five visits to eastern Congo between 2007 and early 2010,[239] 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."[230]

File:Theo chocolate.jpg
Theo Chocolate, stocked by Whole Foods, is made with Congolese cocoa beans

In 2010, Affleck and Whitney Williams co-founded the Eastern Congo Initiative.[240] Investors include Howard Graham Buffett, Google, Laurene Powell Jobs and Cindy McCain.[241] ECI supports "Africans finding solutions to African problems" by acting as a grant maker for Congolese-led, community-based organizations.[242] ECI, with two employees in the US and 12 in the Congo,[243] 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.[242][244] One ECI grantee, Green House, offers training and resources to Congolese farmers.[245] In 2010, ECI partnered Green House-supported cacao farmers with Seattle-based company Theo Chocolate.[246] As of 2014, Theo is the biggest sourcer of cocoa beans in the Congo and donates a percentage of their profits to ECI.[247] In 2013, ECI collaborated with TOMS shoes to provide footwear for Congolese school children.[248] In late 2014, ECI began supporting more than 4,000 coffee farmers to increase the quality and quantity of their production; their coffee beans are now exported by Starbucks.[249][250] ECI has hosted high-profile fundraising events in the US, in collaboration with the Clinton Foundation and Matt Damon's[251][252]

ECI also aims to increase focus on the issues impacting eastern Congo among policymakers and the media in the US and Europe.[253] In an effort to achieve this goal, ECI has released a number of publications including a white paper and a USAID-supported landscape analysis.[254][255] Affleck has made nine media-documented trips to Central Africa since 2007 and has discussed ECI's work in many television interviews.[256][257] In 2010, he wrote a column for The Washington Post,[258] contributed an essay to The Enough Moment[259] and appeared as a panelist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.[260] In 2011, Affleck and Cindy McCain, an ECI board member, testified before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights.[261][262] Also in 2011, Affleck was a speaker at the Global Philanthropy Forum.[263] 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.[264][265][266] He wrote op-eds for The Washington Post and Politico.[267][268] 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."[269] Later in 2012, Affleck testified before the House Armed Services Committee and met with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.[270][271]

In 2013, Affleck introduced the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste at a TED conference[272][273] 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."[274] 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.[275][276] 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.[277] Affleck also spoke at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards, where Denis Mukwege was honored.[278][279][280]

Other charitable causes

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).[281] 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.[282] Kindregan and his family have visited Affleck on many movie sets and attended many premieres.[283] Affleck is actively involved in fundraising for A-T[4][284] 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.[282] In 2007, Affleck was the keynote speaker at Kindregan's high school graduation ceremony in Fairfax, Virginia.[285] Kindregan appeared as an extra in Affleck's Argo (2012).[286] 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.[287] Also in 2013, he appeared in CinemAbility, a film documentary which explores Hollywood's portrayals of people with disabilities.[288][289]

Affleck visited troops stationed in the Persian Gulf during a USO-sponsored tour in 2003[290] 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.[291][292] He held a Paralyzed Veterans of America benefit at the 2010 premiere of The Town,[292] and filmed public service announcements for the organization in both 2009 and 2014.[293][294] Affleck's support of Operation Gratitude began in 2007, when he appeared on Live with Regis and Kelly to raise awareness of their work.[295] 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.[296][297]

File:AffleckFeedAmerica09 (cropped).jpg
Affleck speaking at a Feeding America rally in 2009

Affeck is a longtime supporter of Boston-based cancer charity The Jimmy Fund, making numerous appearances at their Radio-Telethon.[298][299][300][301] In 2010, he fundraised for the charity during the US premiere of The Town.[302]

Affleck is a member of Feeding America’s Entertainment Council.[303] He volunteered at the Greater Boston Food Bank in 2007[304] and helped pack food boxes at a Feeding America event in Denver in 2008.[305] In 2009, Affleck spoke at a Feeding America rally in Washington D.C.[306] He filmed a public service announcement for the charity in 2010.[307] In 2011, Affleck and Ellen DeGeneres launched Feeding America's Small Change Campaign.[308] 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."[309]


Political views

Affleck is a member of the Democratic Party and has described himself as "moderately liberal."[310] He has appeared as a panel guest on Real Time with Bill Maher (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2014),[311][312] Hardball with Chris Matthews (2004, 2007, 2009),[313][314][315][316] Crossfire (2004)[317] and Larry King Live (2004, 2007).[318][319][320] He has also discussed politics in interviews on Channel 4 News (2012),[321] The O'Reilly Factor (2004, 2012),[310][322][323] The Rachel Maddow Show (2009),[324] Face the Nation (2012),[325] This Week (2012, 2014),[326][327] and NPR (2010, 2014).[328][329]

Affleck was raised in "a very strong union household."[330] 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."[331] He later narrated a documentary, Occupation (2002), about a sit-in organized by the Harvard Living Wage Campaign.[332] In 2004, Affleck and Senator Ted Kennedy held a press conference on Capitol Hill, pushing for an increase in the minimum wage.[333][334][335] 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.[336][337] During the Writers' Strike in 2008, Affleck voiced support for the picketers.[338] Affleck has argued in favor of universal health care.[339] In 2007, he filmed a public service announcement for Divided We Fail, a nonpartisan AARP campaign seeking affordable, quality healthcare for all Americans.[340] Affleck has criticised the Bush tax cuts on many occasions.[341][342][343]

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."[344][345] 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."[346][347] Also that year, he remarked that it was "outrageous and offensive" to suggest members of the transgender community were not entitled to equal rights.[348] In 2005, he appeared alongside his openly gay cousin in a Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays print advertising campaign.[349][350] In 2013, he welcomed the Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8[351][352] and remarked that it was "to our shame" that gay couples cannot marry "in every state in the union."[353]

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."[354] Affleck is a supporter of the Second Amendment.[310] In 2003, he applied for a Georgia Weapons Carry License in the state of Georgia, where he owns a home.[355] 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.)[356]

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.[357] In 2007, he appeared in a global warming awareness video produced by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.[358] Also that year, Affleck admitted he was not "particularly good at being green."[359] In 2014, he named "a 1966 Chevelle" as his guilty pleasure.[29]

Affleck spoke at a press conference with New York Senator Chuck Schumer in 2002, in support of a proposed Anti-Nuclear Terrorism Prevention Act.[360] In 2003, Affleck criticised the "questionable and aggressive" use of the Patriot Act and the resulting "encroachments on civil liberties."[341] A reporter from The Washington Post overheard Affleck "railing about the Israeli invasion of Gaza" at a Washington party in 2009.[361] 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."[362] 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.[363]

Affleck is an admirer of the late Howard Zinn.[364] 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".[365][366] Affleck read excerpts from the book at the History of Progressive America event during the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[367] 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."[368]

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."[310] In 2012, Affleck praised Senator John McCain's "leadership" in defending Huma Abedin against anti-Muslim attacks.[369][370] 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."[243]

In the early 2000s, Affleck often expressed an interest in one day running for political office.[371] 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.[372] His publicist dismissed the rumor.[373] Since 2007, Affleck has denied any political ambitions and spoken repeatedly about the need for campaign finance reform.[374][375][376][377][378] In 2012, political pundits and Democratic strategists including Bob Shrum and Tad Devine speculated that Affleck was considering running for a Massachusetts Senate seat.[379] Affleck denied the rumor, joking: "Also won't be throwing my hat in the ring to run the U.N."[380][381] 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."[29]

On October 8, 2014, Affleck appeared on Bill Maher's Real Time with Bill Maher and engaged in a heated debate with Maher and Sam Harris concerning Islamic politics. When Maher stated, "It's the only religion that acts like the mafia that will [fucking] kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book", a verbal war began. Sam Harris, also a guest on the show, responded "Islam is the motherlode of bad ideas". Affleck stated, "It's gross, it's racist, it's disgusting. It's like saying, 'Oh, you shifty Jew!'" The debate lasted 15 minutes.[382]

Democratic Party activism

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,[383] Pennsylvania[384] and Florida,[385] as well as a New York fundraiser.[386] 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."[387][388]

Affleck was very involved in the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry. Early in the campaign, he took part in a voter registration PSA[389] and attended fundraisers for Kerry.[390][391] 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."[392][393] 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.[394][395][396]

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."[357] He donated to Obama's presidential campaign in 2007.[397] In 2008, Affleck supported Obama during the Democratic Primary,[398] hosted a political fundraiser for his campaign[399] and attended other fundraising events.[400] Affleck urged voters to "help make history" in a campaign[401] and made several appearances during the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[402] 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."[403] He later attended inauguration celebrations in Washington.[362] Affleck did not actively campaign for Obama's reelection in 2012.[356][404] However, he stated: "I like the president, I’m going to vote for the president."[405][406] "I don't feel disappointed [in his performance]. I'm someone who views politics practically."[321]

In 2000, Affleck introduced Senate candidate Hillary Clinton at a Cornell University rally[407] and helped fundraise for her campaign.[408][409] Affleck, who first met the Clintons at Camp David in 1998,[410] pointed to the First Lady's work with children, women and "working families."[411] Affleck supported Obama during the 2008 Democratic Primary, noting that Clinton had "moved toward the center" during the campaign.[374] In his role as an advocate with the Eastern Congo Initiative, Affleck has spoken at several events with both Bill and Hillary Clinton.[412][413][414] 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."[29] Affleck is a friend of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.[363][415]

Affleck has supported a number of other Democratic politicians. In 2002, he donated to Dick Gephardt's Congressional campaign[416] and appeared in campaign literature for former classmate Marjorie Decker, running as a city councillor in Massachusetts.[417] In 2003, he made donations to the presidential campaigns of both Dennis Kucinich and Wesley Clark,[418] and, in 2005, he donated to the campaign fund of Deval Patrick, a candidate for Governor of Massachusetts.[419] In 2006, Affleck contributed to Cory Booker’s Newark mayoral campaign.[420] Also that year, Affleck introduced Congressmen Joe Courtney and Chris Murphy at rallies in Connecticut.[421] In 2008, he donated to the Congressional campaign of Pennsylvania's Patrick Murphy[416][422] while, in 2010, he donated to the Senate campaign of Kirsten Gillibrand.[416] In 2012, Affleck hosted a fundraiser for Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren,[423] endorsed her in a Progressive Change Campaign Committee video,[424] and made a campaign donation.[425] In 2013, he hosted a fundraiser for Senate candidate Cory Booker,[426] and made donations to the campaigns of both Booker and Alison Lundergan Grimes.[427][428] In 2014, Affleck made a further donation to Grimes' Senate campaign through the Kentucky State Democratic Party.[429]

Personal life


File:Jennifer Garner cropped.jpg
Affleck married Jennifer Garner in 2005. They have three children.

Affleck is married to actress Jennifer Garner. They began dating in mid-2004,[430] having established a friendship on the sets of Pearl Harbor (2001) and Daredevil (2003).[431] They became engaged in April 2005 and were married on June 29, 2005 in a private Turks and Caicos ceremony.[432] Victor Garber, who officiated the ceremony, was the only guest.[433]

The couple have three children: daughters Violet Anne (b. December 2005)[434] and Seraphina "Sera" Rose Elizabeth (b. January 2009),[435] and son Samuel "Sam" Garner (b. February 2012).[436] While Affleck believes paparazzi attention is "part of the deal" of stardom, he has spoken out against paparazzi in the interest of his children.[437][438] Affleck and his wife have campaigned for legislation to require paparazzi to maintain a certain distance from children and to blur their faces in published photos.[29]

The family's main residence is a Cliff May-designed ranch in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles.[439][440][441] They also own an apartment in Manhattan, New York[356] and a Greek Revival-style home with an 83-acre estate on the secluded Hampton Island near Savannah, Georgia.[442][443][444]

Some of Affleck's ancestors were discovered to be slave owners when he appeared on the PBS genealogy show Finding Your Roots. Subsequent hacked Sony emails, posted publicly by WikiLeaks, show that Affleck successfully prevented the information from making it into the show’s final cut, convincing a somewhat reluctant executive producer, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to aid in the omission.[445][446] He later issued an apology through a press release stating, "I didn’t want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed. The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth"[447] Affleck's slave-owning ancestors were revealed to be Benjamin L. Cole and Samuel L. Speissegger of Savannah, Georgia.[448]


Affleck had high-profile relationships with both Jennifer Lopez (left) and Gwyneth Paltrow (right).
Affleck had a three-year relationship with actress Gwyneth Paltrow from 1997 to 2000. They began dating in October 1997,[18] after meeting at a Miramax dinner,[449] and later worked together on Shakespeare in Love (1998). Although they first broke up in January 1999, months later, Paltrow persuaded Affleck to co-star with her in Bounce (2000) and they soon resumed their relationship.[450] They separated again in October 2000.[451] Paltrow spoke of her time with Affleck in a 2015 interview: "He's super intelligent, and really, really talented. And he's funny. But he wasn't in a good place in his life to have a girlfriend ... I like him. I'm friends with him still."[449]

Affleck had an eighteen-month relationship with actress/singer Jennifer Lopez from 2002 to 2004, during which they became engaged. They began dating in July 2002, after meeting on the set of Gigli (2003), and later worked together on the "Jenny from the Block" music video[452] and Jersey Girl (2004).[453] The supercouple was dubbed "Bennifer" and the relationship received extensive media coverage.[160] They became engaged in November 2002[454] but their planned wedding on September 14, 2003 in Santa Barbara, California was postponed with four days' notice because of "excessive media attention".[455][456] They broke up in January 2004.[457][458] Lopez later attributed the split in part to Affleck's discomfort with the media "scrutiny": "I don't think I had ever been heartbroken in that way before - had so many hopes and dreams on something."[459] In 2013, Affleck said he and Lopez occasionally "touch base": "I respect her. I like her."[460]


Affleck is an avid Boston Red Sox fan.[355][461][462] He has narrated The Curse of the Bambino (2003),[463] Red Sox Baby (2007)[464] and Boston Red Sox: World Series Champions (2013).[465] Affleck also supports the New England Patriots[355][466][467] and the Boston Celtics.[355][468][469]

Rehab stay

Affleck entered an alcohol rehabilitation facility in 2001. When the story leaked to the press, a spokesperson said the actor "had decided that a fuller life awaits him without alcohol".[470] The following year, Affleck spoke of his "naïve" belief that "it was going to be a private thing."[471] He has described the rehab stay as a "pre-emptive strike" given his family's history of alcoholism.[472][473] In 2008, he remarked: "My father was an alcoholic and there was a cycle of addiction in my family ... It colors who you are and becomes part of you. I had my issues and went to rehab."[354]


Affleck has described himself as a "lapsed Protestant" from a mostly Episcopal family.[474] In 2007, he listed the Gospel of Matthew as one of the books that made a difference in his life.[475] His three children were baptised as members of the United Methodist Church in his wife's hometown of Charleston, West Virginia.[476][477][478] He is also a critic of Islamophobia.[479]


Awards and honors

Affleck gained recognition as a writer when he, in 1997, won the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting (1997), which he co-wrote and co-starred with actor Matt Damon. He directed and starred in Argo (2012), which won him the Golden Globe Award, BAFTA, and Directors Guild Award for Best Director, and the Golden Globe Award, BAFTA, the Producers Guild Award, and the Academy Award for Best Picture.[205][206][207]


  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 Archived 18 January 2010 at WebCite
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External links

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