In Honor of Ben Affleck’s big night at the Golden Globes, I felt it appropriate to repost an article I wrote after seeing the trailer for Argo that was originally posted back in May. Congratulations to Ben and his wonderful work on Argo.
All actors and directors and writers have various highs and lows in their career and some of these have been commented about on this site and documented in the world of entertainment journalism quite well.
There may be very few careers that have been such a roller coaster of extreme highs and deep lows, as that of Ben Affleck. Affleck is set to release his third directorial effort in October. It is entitled Argo is set during the Iran hostage incident. The trailer alone will leave your jaw open salivating for the release of what very well may be a big Oscar contender with an all star cast, including Affleck in the lead role.
Ben Affleck had a small steady career starting to carve for himself appearing in various successful indie movies a few for his friend, director Kevin Smith when he was at the height of his talents with roles in such films as Mallrats and Chasing Amy and a somewhat breakout role in the cult icon film Dazed And Confused. In 1998 he became a household name over night when he and childhood best friend Matt Damon won the Academy Award for best original screenplay for Good Will Hunting. The two friends were on the fast track to fame, fortune and success. With a few big blockbuster movies and decent roles in fine movies following Good Will Hunting like Armageddon, Shakespeare In Love, Boiler Room and the money making but disappointing Pearl Harbor and then things started to slide. It wouldn’t be far fetched to point the start of the slide at The Sum Of All Fears which while was not that bad a movie, quite entertaining actually, it was the role he played that people weren’t happy with. the role of Jack Ryan had come to be loved because of Harrison Ford flawlessly portraying the tom Clancy character. While Affleck only played a young Jack Ryan and didn’t continue the story or Ford’s version of the character people were immediately turned off. This is where the mudslide begins with the widely panned comic book/superhero adaptation of Daredevil and followed with a string of movies one as bad as the next almost. Gili with then girlfriend Jennifer Lopez has made the top of various worst all time movies lists. Even re-teaming with friend Kevin Smith for Jersey Girl didn’t help as it appeared Kevin Smith’s better days were behind him and on to Surviving Christmas and Clerks 2.
Affleck next took a role that appeared to be a big departure since it was a much smaller supporting role as he played the almost mythic actor George Reeves in Hollywoodland and even received Oscar buzz for his role. It appeared to be a step in the right direction.
Ben would take a three year break during which his life and career would change drastically and forever. Ben stepped behind the camera to direct his first feature length film and cast his little brother in the lead role. Based on the Dennis Lehane novel, Gone Baby Gone would go on to blow everyone away as to how good of a film Affleck could make and maybe this was his true calling. He played Gone Baby Gone somewhat safe since it is based in his home town Boston he had an advantage going into the project, but, it couldn’t have been a better first movie for him to direct.
He would return to the screen in what again wouldn’t be a leading role but still a role with depth and that had some teeth to it with 2009’s State Of Play staring Russell Crowe based on the BBC miniseries.
Picking up a couple of roles here and there since he then returned behind the camera in 2010 with another Boston crime tale with The Town which he would also star in and would again gain wide praise for his directing ability and his love letters to his hometown of Boston.
It has been 2 years since The Town and Affleck is back behind and in front of the camera for Argo. He leaves the comfort of Boston for the hostile territory of late 70’s, early 80’s Iran. He has found his voice and true talent. He may never win an acting Oscar like his friend Matt Damon may do someday but he no doubt is leaving his mark, albeit early, as a director. His career is hitting the highs it once did when he joyously received his Oscar with friend Matt Damon and things truly are looking up for Ben.