Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt
(born August 15, 1972) is an American actor and filmmaker. His accolades include two Academy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards. He began his career as a child when he starred in the PBS educational series The Voyage of the Mimi (1984, 1988). He later appeared in the independent coming-of-age comedy Dazed and Confused (1993) and various Kevin Smith films, including Mallrats (1995), Chasing Amy (1997) and Dogma (1999). Affleck gained wider recognition when he and childhood friend Matt Damon won the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for writing Good Will Hunting (1997), which they also starred in. He then established himself as a leading man in studio films, including the disaster film Armageddon (1998), the war drama Pearl Harbor (2001), and the thrillers The Sum of All Fears and Changing Lanes (both 2002).
After a career downturn, during which he appeared in Daredevil and Gigli (both 2003), Affleck received a Golden Globe nomination for portraying George Reeves in the noir biopic Hollywoodland (2006). His directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone (2007), which he also co-wrote, was well received. He then directed, co-wrote and starred in the crime drama The Town (2010) and directed and starred in the political thriller Argo (2012). For the latter, Affleck won the Golden Globe and BAFTA Award for Best Director, and the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Academy Award for Best Picture. He starred in the psychological thriller Gone Girl (2014), in the superhero films Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Justice League (2017), and in the action thrillers The Accountant (2016) and Triple Frontier (2019). He received praise for his performance as a recovering alcoholic in the sports drama The Way Back (2020).
Affleck is the co-founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, a grantmaking and advocacy-based nonprofit organization. He is also a stalwart supporter of the Democratic Party. Affleck and Damon are co-owners of the production company Pearl Street Films.
Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt was born on August 15, 1972 in Berkeley, California. His family moved to Massachusetts when he was three, living in Falmouth, where his brother Casey was born, before settling in Cambridge. His mother, Christopher Anne “Chris” Boldt, was a Harvard-educated elementary school teacher. His father, Timothy Byers Affleck, was an aspiring playwright who made a living as a carpenter, auto mechanic, bookie, electrician, bartender, and janitor at Harvard. In the mid-1960s, he had been an actor and stage manager with the Theater Company of Boston. During Affleck’s childhood, his father had a self-described “severe, chronic problem with alcoholism”, and Affleck has recalled him drinking “all day … every day”. His father was “very difficult” to live with and he felt a sense of “relief” at the age of 11 when his parents divorced, and his father left the family home. His father continued to drink heavily and eventually became homeless, spending two years living on the streets of Cambridge. When Affleck was 16, his father entered a rehabilitation facility in Indio, California. He lived at the facility for twelve years to maintain his sobriety,and worked there as an addiction counselor.
Affleck was raised in a politically active, liberal household. He and his brother were surrounded by people who worked in the arts,regularly attended theater performances with their mother,and were encouraged to make their own home movies.David Wheeler, a family friend, later remembered Affleck as a “very bright and intensely curious” child.The brothers auditioned for roles in local commercials and film productions because of their mother’s friendship with a Cambridge-area casting director, and Affleck first acted professionally at the age of seven. His mother saved his wages in a college trust fund, and hoped her son would ultimately become a teacher, worrying that acting was an insecure and “frivolous” profession. When Affleck was 13, he filmed a children’s television program in Mexico. He learned to speak Spanish during a year spent travelling around the country with his mother and brother.
As a Cambridge Rindge and Latin high school student, Affleck acted in theater productions and was inspired by drama teacher Gerry Speca. He became close friends with fellow student Matt Damon, whom he had known since the age of eight. Although Damon was two years older, the pair had “identical interests” and both wanted to pursue acting careers. They traveled to New York together for acting auditions and saved money for train and airline tickets in a joint bank account. While Affleck had high SAT scores, he was an unfocused student with poor attendance.He spent a few months studying Spanish at the University of Vermont, chosen because of its proximity to his then-girlfriend,but left after fracturing his hip while playing basketball. At 18, Affleck moved to Los Angeles, studying Middle Eastern affairs at Occidental College for a year and a half.
1981–1997: Child acting and Good Will Hunting
Affleck acted professionally throughout his childhood but, in his own words, “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.” 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. 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 Massachusetts and Mexico. As a teenager, he appeared in the ABC after school special Wanted: A Perfect Man (1986),the television film Hands of a Stranger (1987), and a 1989 Burger King commercial.
After high school, Affleck moved briefly to New York in search of acting work. Later, while studying at Occidental College in Los Angeles, Affleck directed student films.As an actor, he had a series of “knock-around parts, one to the next”. He played Patrick Duffy’s son in the television film Daddy (1991), made an uncredited appearance as a basketball player in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer film (1992), and had a supporting role as a prep school student in School Ties (1992). He played a high school quarterback in the NBC 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). Linklater wanted a likeable actor for the villainous role and, while Affleck was “big and imposing,” he was “so smart and full of life … I just liked him.” Affleck later said Linklater was instrumental in demystifying the filmmaking process for him.
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”. He then played a bully in filmmaker Kevin Smith’s comedy Mallrats (1995), and became friends with Smith during the filming. Affleck had begun to worry that he would be relegated to a career of “throwing people into their lockers”,but Smith wrote him a lead role in the romantic comedy Chasing Amy (1997).The film was Affleck’s breakthrough. Janet Maslin of The New York Times praised Affleck’s “wonderful ease” playing the role, combining “suave good looks with cool comic timing”. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly described it as a “wholesome and quick-witted” performance. When Affleck starred as a recently returned Korean War veteran in the coming-of-age drama Going All the Way (1997), Todd McCarthy of Variety found him “excellent”, while Janet Maslin of The New York Times noted that his “flair for comic self-doubt made a strong impression.”
The success of 1997’s Good Will Hunting, which Affleck co-wrote and acted in, marked a 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 in front of the class and, when Damon later moved into Affleck’s Los Angeles apartment, they began working on the script in earnest. The film, which they wrote mainly during improvisation sessions, was set partly in their hometown of Cambridge, and drew from their own experiences. They sold the screenplay to Castle Rock in 1994 when Affleck was 22 years old. During the development process, they received notes from industry figures including Rob Reiner and William Goldman. Following a lengthy dispute with Castle Rock about a suitable director, Affleck and Damon persuaded Miramax to purchase the screenplay 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, Minnie Driver, and Robin Williams. On its release, Janet Maslin of The New York Times praised the “smart and touching screenplay”, while Emanuel Levy of Variety found it “funny, nonchalant, moving and angry”. Jay Carr of The Boston Globe wrote that Affleck brought “a beautifully nuanced tenderness” to his role as the working-class friend of Damon’s mathematical prodigy character. Affleck and Damon eventually won both the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Affleck has described this period of his life as “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, ‘$100 Million Box Office! Awards!’ ” He remains the youngest writer (at age 25) to ever win an Oscar for screenwriting.
1998–2002: Leading man status
Armageddon, released in 1998, established Affleck as a viable leading man for Hollywood studio films. Good Will Hunting had not yet been released during the casting process and, after Affleck’s screen test, director Michael Bay dismissed him as “a geek”. He was convinced by producer Jerry Bruckheimer that Affleck would be a star, but the actor was required to lose weight, become tanned, and get his teeth capped before filming began. The film, where he starred opposite Bruce Willis as a blue-collar driller tasked by NASA with stopping an asteroid from colliding with Earth, was a box office success. Daphne Merkin of The New Yorker remarked: “Affleck demonstrates a sexy Paul Newmanish charm and is clearly bound for stardom.”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,” while Janet Maslin of The New York Times found him “very funny”. 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 sheriff in the supernatural horror film Phantoms. Stephen Holden of The New York Times wondered why actors like Affleck and Peter O’Toole had agreed to appear in the “junky” film: “Affleck’s thudding performance suggests he is reading his dialogue for the first time, directly from cue cards.”
Affleck and Damon had an on-screen reunion in Kevin Smith’s religious satire Dogma (after having appeared in Smith’s previous films, Mallrats and Chasing Amy), which premiered at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. 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”. Affleck starred opposite Sandra Bullock in the romantic comedy Forces of Nature (1999), playing a groom whose attempts to get to his wedding are complicated by his free-spirited traveling companion. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly remarked that Affleck “has the fast-break charm you want in a screwball hero,” while Joe Leydon of Variety praised “his winning ability to play against his good looks in a self-effacing comic turn”. Affleck then appeared opposite Courtney Love in the little-seen ensemble comedy 200 Cigarettes (1999)
Interested in a directorial career, Affleck shadowed John Frankenheimer throughout pre-production of the action thriller Reindeer Games (2000). Frankenheimer, directing his last 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.” He starred opposite Charlize Theron as a hardened criminal, with Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times enjoying 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.”He then had a supporting role as a ruthless stockbroker in the crime drama Boiler Room (2000). A.O. Scott of The New York Times felt Affleck had “traced over” Alec Baldwin’s performance in Glengarry Glen Ross,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”.He then provided the voice of Joseph in the animated Joseph: King of Dreams. In his last film role of 2000, Affleck starred opposite his girlfriend Paltrow in the romantic drama Bounce. 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.”
Affleck reunited with director Michael Bay for the critically derided war drama Pearl Harbor (2001). 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”. However, Todd McCarthy of Variety wrote “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”. Affleck then parodied Good Will Hunting with Damon and Van Sant in Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), made a cameo in the comedy Daddy and Them (2001), and had a supporting role in the little-seen The Third Wheel (2002). He portrayed the CIA analyst Jack Ryan in the thriller The Sum of All Fears (2002). Stephen Holden of The New York Times felt he was miscast in a role previously played by both Harrison Ford and Alec Baldwin: “Although Mr. Affleck can be appealing when playing earnest young men groping toward maturity, he simply lacks the gravitas for the role.” Affleck had an “amazing experience” making the thriller Changing Lanes (2002), and later cited Roger Michell as someone he learned from as a director.Robert Koehler of Variety described it as one of the actor’s “most thoroughly wrought” performances: “The journey into a moral fog compels him to play more inwardly and thoughtfully than he ever has before.”
Affleck became more involved with television and film production in the early 2000s. He and Damon had set up Pearl Street Films in 1998, named after the street that ran between their childhood homes. Their next production company LivePlanet, co-founded in 2000 with Sean Bailey and Chris Moore, sought to integrate the Internet into mainstream television and film production.LivePlanet’s biggest success was the documentary series Project Greenlight, aired on HBO and later Bravo, which focused on first-time filmmakers being given the chance to direct a feature film. Project Greenlight was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program in 2002, 2004 and 2005. Push, Nevada (2002), created, written and produced by Affleck and Bailey, was an ABC mystery drama series that placed a viewer-participation game within the frame of the show. Caryn James of The New York Times praised the show’s “nerve, imagination and clever writing”, but Robert Bianco of USA Today described it as a “knock-off” of Twin Peaks.The show was cancelled by ABC after seven episodes due to low ratings. Over time, LivePlanet’s focus shifted from multimedia projects to more traditional film production. Affleck and his partners signed a film production deal with Disney in 2002; it expired in 2007.
2003–2005: Career downturn and tabloid notoriety
While Affleck had been a tabloid figure for much of his career, he was the subject of increased media attention in 2003 because of his relationship with Jennifer Lopez. By the end of the year, Affleck had become, in the words of GQ, the “world’s most over-exposed actor”. His newfound tabloid notoriety coincided with a series of poorly received films.
The first of these was Daredevil (2003), in which Affleck starred as the blind superhero. Affleck was a longtime comic book fan, and, in 1999, had written a foreword for Kevin Smith’s Guardian Devil about his love for the character of Daredevil. The film was a commercial success, but received a mixed response from critics. Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times said 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.” In 2014, Affleck described Daredevil as the only film he regretted making. He next appeared as a low-ranking mobster in the romantic comedy Gigli (2003), co-starring Lopez. The film was almost uniformly panned, with Manohla Dargis of the Los Angeles Times remarking that “Affleck doesn’t have the chops or the charm to maneuver around (or past) bad material.” Yet Affleck has repeatedly defended director Marty Brest since the film’s release, describing him as “one of the really great directors”. In his last film role of 2003, Affleck starred as a reverse engineer in the sci-fi thriller Paycheck (2003). Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian remarked on Affleck’s “self-deprecating charm” and wondered why he could not find better scripts. Manohla Dargis of the Los Angeles Times found it “almost unfair” to critique Affleck, given that he “had such a rough year”.
Affleck’s poor critical notices continued in 2004 when he starred as a bereaved husband 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,” while Joe Leydon of Variety found his onscreen role as a father “affecting”. Later that year, he starred opposite James Gandolfini in the holiday comedy Surviving Christmas. Holden noted in The New York Times that the film “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.” At this point, the quality of scripts offered to Affleck “was just getting worse and worse” and he decided to take a career break. The Los Angeles Times published a piece on the downfall of Affleck’s career in late 2004. The article noted that, unlike film critics and tabloid journalists, “few industry professionals seem to be gloating over Affleck’s travails”.
2006–2015: Emergence as a director
After marrying actress Jennifer Garner in 2005, and welcoming their first child, Affleck began a career comeback in 2006. Following a starring role in the little-seen Man About Town and a minor role in the crime drama Smokin’ Aces, Affleck won acclaim for his performance as George Reeves in the noir biopic Hollywoodland. 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.” Geoffrey Macnab of The Guardian said he “beautifully” captured “the character’s curious mix of charm, vulnerability and fatalism”.He was awarded the Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.Also in 2006, he made a cameo in Smith’s Clerks II.
In 2007, Affleck made his feature film directorial debut with Gone Baby Gone, a crime drama set in a working-class Boston neighborhood, starring his brother Casey as a private investigator searching for a young abductee. 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.It opened to enthusiastic reviews. Manohla Dargis of The New York Times praised the film’s “sensitivity to real struggle”, while Stephen Farber of The Hollywood Reporter described it as “thoughtful, deeply poignant, [and] splendidly executed”.
While Affleck intended to “keep a primary emphasis on directing” going forward in his career,he acted in three films in 2009. In the ensemble romantic comedy He’s Just Not That Into You, the chemistry between Affleck and Jennifer Aniston was praised. Affleck played a congressman in the political thriller State of Play. Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe found him “very good in the film’s silliest role,”but David Edelstein of New York Magazine remarked of Affleck: “He might be smart and thoughtful in life [but] as an actor his wheels turn too slowly.”He had a supporting role as a bartender in the little-seen comedy film Extract. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone described his performance as “a goofball delight”, while Manohla Dargis of The New York Times declared it “a real performance”. In 2010, Affleck starred in The Company Men as a mid-level sales executive who is made redundant during the financial crisis of 2007–2008. David Denby of The New Yorker declared that Affleck “gives his best performance yet”, while Richard Corliss of Time found he “nails Bobby’s plunge from hubris to humiliation”.
Following the modest commercial success of Gone Baby Gone, Warner Bros. developed a close working relationship with Affleck and offered him his choice of the studio’s scripts. He decided to direct the crime drama The Town (2010), an adaptation of Chuck Hogan’s novel Prince of Thieves. He also re-wrote the screenplay and starred in the film as a bank robber. The film became a surprise box office hit, and gained further critical acclaim for Affleck. A.O. Scott of The New York Times praised his “skill and self-confidence as a serious director,” while Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times 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.”Also in 2010, Affleck and Damon’s production company, Pearl Street Films, signed a first-look producing deal at Warner Bros.
Affleck soon began work on his next directorial project, Argo (2012), for Warner Bros. Written by Chris Terrio and starring Affleck as a CIA operative, the film tells the story of the CIA plan to save six U.S. diplomats during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis by faking a production for a large-scale science fiction film. Anthony Lane of The New Yorker said the film offered “further proof that we were wrong about Ben Affleck”. 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.” A major critical and commercial success,Argo won the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, and BAFTA Award for Best Picture. The cast won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast. Affleck himself won the Golden Globe Award, Directors Guild of America Award, and BAFTA Award for Best Director, becoming the first director to win these awards without a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director.
The following year Affleck played a romantic lead in Terrence Malick’s experimental drama To the Wonder. Malick, a close friend of Affleck’s godfather, had first met with the actor in the 1990s to offer advice about the plot of Good Will Hunting. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian enjoyed “a performance of dignity and sensitivity,” while The New Yorker ‘s Richard Brody described Affleck as “a solid and muscular performer” who “conveys a sense of thoughtful and willful individuality”. Affleck’s performance as a poker boss was considered a highlight of the poorly-reviewed thriller Runner Runner (2013). 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.” He then pushed back production on his own directorial project to star as a husband accused of murder in David Fincher’s psychological thriller Gone Girl (2014) Fincher cast him partly because he understood what it felt like to be misrepresented by tabloid media: “What many people don’t know is that he’s crazy smart, but since he doesn’t want that to get awkward, he downplays it. I think he learned how to skate on charm.” David Edelstein of New York Magazine noted 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.” Justin Chang of Variety found Affleck “perfectly cast”: “It’s a tricky turn, requiring a measure of careful underplaying and emotional aloofness, and he nails it completely.” In 2015, Affleck and Damon’s Project Greenlight was resurrected by HBO for one season.
2016–present: Batman role and continued directing
Given Affleck’s growing reputation as a filmmaker, his decision to star as Batman in the 2016 superhero film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was regarded by Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times as “a somewhat bewildering choice”. Although the casting choice was met with intense fan backlash, Affleck’s performance ultimately earned a positive reception. Andrew Barker of Variety found him “a winningly cranky, charismatic presence,” while Brian Truitt of USA Today enjoyed his “strong” and “surprisingly emotional” take on the character.Affleck reprised his role as Batman twice, making a cameo appearance in Suicide Squad (2016) and starring in Justice League (2017). Justice League drew mixed opinions from critics; Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Affleck “looks like he’d rather be almost anywhere else but here.”
In addition to his various Batman commitments, Affleck appeared in two other films in 2016. He starred as an autistic accountant in the action thriller The Accountant (2016), which was an unexpected commercial success. Peter Debruge of Variety felt Affleck’s “boy-next-door” demeanor – “so normal and non-actorly that most of his performances feel like watching one of your buddies up on screen” – was “a terrific fit” for the role. Stephen Holden of The New York Times wondered why Affleck, “looking appropriately dead-eyed and miserable,” committed himself to the film. Live by Night, which Affleck wrote, directed, co-produced, and starred in, was released in late 2016. Adapted from Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name, the Prohibition-era gangster drama received largely unenthusiastic reviews and failed to recoup its $65 million production budget. David Sims of The Atlantic described it as “a fascinating mess of a movie” and criticized Affleck’s “stiff, uncomfortable” performance. He noted that one of the last action scenes “is so wonderfully staged, its action crisp and easy to follow, that it reminds you what skill Affleck has with the camera”.In October 2016, Affleck and Damon made a one-off stage appearance for a live reading of the Good Will Hunting screenplay at New York’s Skirball Theater.
Amidst an alcoholism relapse, Affleck did not work in 2017. He stepped down as director and writer of The Batman, and filming of the drug-trafficking thriller Triple Frontier was postponed in order to accommodate his treatment for “health issues”. Upon Triple Frontier’s release in 2019, Rodrigo Perez of The Playlist remarked that director J.C. Chandor “gets a lot of mileage out of the Sad Affleck narrative and perhaps both director and actor lean into the idea.”Later in 2019, Affleck made a cameo appearance in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, having had little contact with Kevin Smith since the making of Clerks II in 2006. Affleck played a supporting role as a diplomat in Dee Rees’s political thriller The Last Thing He Wanted (2020). The Netflix movie, filmed in mid-2018, received negative reviews from critics with Tomris Laffly of Variety describing Affleck’s performance as “oddly removed”.
Affleck’s starring role as a recovering alcoholic in the sports drama The Way Back (2020) was widely praised.The themes of the movie were “close to home” for Affleck.He relapsed during pre-production in 2018 and the movie was shot in the days after he left rehab; Affleck agreed to put his salary in escrow and was accompanied to set by a sober coach. Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair said it was hard to avoid the movie’s “meta angle”: “Affleck handles his self-conscious task with a generous humility—giving a performance built not out of histrionics or big actor moments, but instead from the messy details of a man in a plateaued distress”.David Sims of The Atlantic praised the “subtlety”, “vulnerability” and “lumbering physicality” of his performance, describing it as “the rawest and most natural” work of his career. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cinemas closed in the second week of the movie’s release and Warner Bros. made it available to view-on-demand earlier than scheduled.
In November 2020, he will star opposite Ana de Armas in Adrian Lyne’s thriller Deep Water, an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel. During the COVID-19 pandemic, production on two Affleck-related projects was postponed.Filming of the Ridley Scott-directed The Last Duel was halted; Affleck co-wrote the movie’s screenplay with Matt Damon and Nicole Holofcener, and is due to play a supporting role. Production of Robert Rodriguez’s action thriller Hypnotic, which was due to begin filming in April and in which Affleck plays a detective, was also postponed.Affleck has a number of potential directing projects in development,including an adaptation of King Leopold’s Ghost, a World War II movie focusing on the Ghost Army, and a crime drama about the McDonald’s Monopoly fraud case.
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