Ben Affleck ('Surviving Christmas')
'How D'Ya Like Them Apples?!'
Ben Affleck and his childhood friend Matt Damon wrote and starred in the 1998 film 'Good Will Hunting.' The resulting Oscar for best original screenplay catapulted both to stardom. Affleck has appeared in independent films such as Kevin Smith's 'Chasing Amy' (1997) and 'Dogma' (1999), but has also shown a taste for playing heroes in big-budget action movies such as 'Armageddon' (1998), 'Pearl Harbor' (2001) and 'Daredevil' (2003).
In his new movie, 'Surviving Christmas' a depressed man (Ben Affleck) finds himself alone during the holidays. To beat the blues he decides to travel to his childhood home, where he meets the family currently living there. He pays their patriarch (James Gandolfini) $250,000 to let him spend the yuletide season with them!
So, James Gandolfini was saying that one of the problems with this movie was that the script that he originally signed on to do kept on changing and that could be very frustrating. Was that the same for you also? "Oh yes, I feel his pain! The scripts, yeah, that is one of the problems in the nature of Hollywood movies. It is like everyone has their notes and their ideas and they keep changing it and then people want to improvise and then you know. We call it evolving," he laughs, "but, yeah, it is hard. It is also especially hard if you are somebody who likes to really memorise their lines really thoroughly as opposed to like, I like to memorise the idea of what I am going to say and then just make it up. But some writers don't appreciate that!"
What's the weirdest Christmas you've had? "Ahhh, I don't have any weird Christmases although I mean the most unusual Christmas I had was probably last year, which I spent in the Middle East. That was definitely an unusual Christmas being there with all the soldiers ... and you know in the Middle East it was strange. I mean and shocking that you know how grand a form of service that really is to be in war time in the military and what different cultures, what that culture was like and how hard that kind of life is to be working 12 hour shifts on Christmas afraid you might get blown up. I mean that's at like fifty cents an hour! I mean that is kind of no joke!"
When did you find out when there was no Santa Claus? "There is no Santa Claus?," he laughs. "You set me up. When did I find out ... I did at one time believe in Santa because I do remember asking my mother, like how did Santa know. That's what really freaked me out, was like how he would know. How did he know that that's just what I wanted? I think it disturbed me more than anything else. It gave me like a weird 1984 feeling, like Big Brother was watching me and I wasn't happy with that because I was humping into the bed posts and I hoped Santa didn't know that!"
Er, so when was the last time you humped the bedpost?! "Oh, I've moved on since then. No, I moved to the bed!"
So you think parents shouldn't actually make their kids believe in Santa Claus?! "My early days, I actually did a lot of work as the Easter Bunny so I believe in him! I was the actual Easter Bunny. I had to go around and giving kids fuckin' chocolate because I was broke. Then I did some tooth fairy work!"
What worries you now then? What do you stress over now? "General stuff, you know. Even the paparazzi, that doesn't worry me so much. That's just what it is you know. I worry about the same normal things that everybody worries about, being what kind of person and that, trying to be a good person and trying not to die and that sort of stuff."
Are you and Damon going to get together and write again, or is this the end of that? "I would like to, we would like to but we both just keep working in movies."
So, what's next for you? "I just adapted a book that I just turned into Paramount by Dennis Lahane, called 'Gone Baby Gone.' I just finished that. I actually have to do another step on it, so it's not really finished, but I did the second draft so I'm doing that. I'll definitely write something else with Matt."
What about the acting? "I'm doing this movie called 'Man About Town' right now in Vancouver, which is kind of a comedy and it's a lot of fun. With Rebecca Romjin and Gina Gershon."
And who do you play in 'Man About Town'? "Who I play, is I play a literary agent who - I play a guy who finds out that his wife had an affair with his client and tries to forgive her and see if he can forgive her or not. Would you forgive you wife if she fooled around? See. Most men say no and that's what it's an interesting story that you haven't seen before. It's like most women deal with it and most men just think couldn't do it."
And, finally, you also did a cameo in 'Elektra' - that was a favor to your girl? "I did a cameo. Yes, but I don't want to do any action movies, I'm tired of it. They're boring and they're exhausting and they suck!"
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