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Ben Affleck (born Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt; August 15, 1972) is an American actor, film director and screenwriter. He became known in the mid 1990s after his involvement in the film Mallrats (1995), and later played the lead role in Chasing Amy in 1997. Affleck has since become an Academy Award winner for his screenplay in Good Will Hunting in 1997. He has established himself as a Hollywood leading man, having starred in several big budget films, such as Armageddon (1998), Pearl Harbor (2001), Changing Lanes (2002), The Sum of All Fears (2002) and Daredevil (2003).

After a high profile relationship with actress Gwyneth Paltrow in 1998, his relationship with actress/singer Jennifer Lopez attracted worldwide media attention in which Affleck and Lopez were dubbed as "Bennifer." Following their breakup in 2004, he began dating Jennifer Garner. The two married in June 2005 and have two daughters, Violet, born December 2005 and Seraphina, born January 2009. Affleck has been actively involved in politics, along with a non-profit organization called the A-T Children's Project. Along with childhood friend Matt Damon, he founded the production company LivePlanet.

Early life

Affleck was born in Berkeleymarker, California, the son of Christopher Anne "Chris" (née Boldt), a school district employee and teacher, and Timothy Byers Affleck, a drug counselor, social worker, janitor, auto mechanic, bartender, and former actor with the Theater Company of Boston. Affleck's mother attended Harvard Universitymarker and currently teaches in Cambridge Public Schools. His younger brother is actor Casey Affleck. Affleck has Irish and Scottish ancestry. His family moved to Cambridge, Massachusettsmarker when he was very young and his parents divorced in 1984. At the age of eight, Affleck met ten-year-old Matt Damon, who lived two blocks away. The two would later attend Cambridge Rindge and Latin School together, although they were in different year groups. Affleck attended Occidental Collegemarker in Los Angeles, as well as the University of Vermontmarker.

Career

Early work

Affleck worked as a child actor, appearing on the PBS kids' series The Voyage of the Mimi as well as in several movies made for television. Throughout the 1990s, he had roles in Lifestories: Families in Crisis as a steroid-abusing athlete, as well as in several notable films, including 1992's School Ties (with Damon), the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, 1993's Dazed and Confused, 1995's Mallrats and 1997's Chasing Amy. Mallrats and Amy marked the beginning of his collaboration with writer/director Kevin Smith. He had the starring role in Smith's Jersey Girl and has appeared in every View Askewniverse-Jersey film Smith has made to date, with the exception of the film Clerks.

Critical success

He came to national attention working with Damon in Good Will Hunting in 1997, for which they shared credit and received the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Along with Damon and producers Chris Moore and Sean Bailey, Affleck founded the production company LivePlanet, through which the four created the documentary series Project Greenlight, as well as the failed mystery-hybrid series Push, Nevada amongst other projects. Project Greenlight was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Program in 2002, 2004 and 2005.

Following Good Will Hunting, Affleck starred in Armageddon (1998) as A.J. Frost., opposite Bruce Willis. The film generated mostly critical reviews, but was a box office success earning $553 million worldwide. In 1999, he starred in the leading role of the romantic comedy Forces of Nature. In 2001, Affleck collaborated with Armageddon director Michael Bay in the war film Pearl Harbor. The film generated mixed reception, but was a box office success, earning $449 million worldwide.

In 2002 he was cast as Jack Ryan in the action film The Sum of All Fears. The movie also starred Morgan Freeman. The Sum of All Fears is based on the book of the same name by Tom Clancy. Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post wrote, Affleck and Freeman "create a believable chemistry". In the same year, Affleck starred opposite Samuel L. Jackson in the thriller Changing Lanes.

The following year he starred as the titular character Matt Murdock/Daredevil in Mark Steven Johnson's Daredevil (2003). Affleck said Daredevil was his favorite comic book as a kid, and explained why he took the role by saying "Everybody has that one thing from childhood that they remember and that sticks with them. This story was that for me." He also stated another reason, being "I didn't want someone else to do it, because I was afraid that they would go out and do it different from the comic and screw it up." Roger Ebert, in review of Daredevil, wrote that both Affleck and co-star Jennifer Garner, were suitable for their roles. Daredevil grossed over $179 million worldwide. Following Daredevil, Affleck starred in several critically panned box office flops, including Gigli (2003) and Surviving Christmas (2004), his career waned considerably. He did not appear in any films until 2006 when he had a cameo in Clerks II.

Hollywoodland and after

Affleck made what could be considered a comeback with the September 2006 release of the critically acclaimed George Reeves noir biopic Hollywoodland, directed by HBO TV-series veteran Allen Coulter. His performance was well-received; Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, in review of the film, wrote: "The irony is that Affleck's battering at the hands of fame has prepped him beautifully to play Reeves. He knows this character from the inside: the surface charm, the hidden vulnerability, the ache of watching a career become a joke and being helpless to stop it." Claudia Puig of USA Today wrote that Affleck gives a "strong performance". For his performance, he was awarded the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival and won the Supporting Actor of the Year award at the Hollywood Film Festival, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.

Following the success of Hollywoodland, he appeared in the 2007 action film Smokin' Aces. In the film, Affleck plays Jack Dupree, a bounty hunter. Smokin' Aces received mixed reviews from critics, and was a box office failure. Also in 2007, Affleck made his directorial debut, which starred his brother Casey, with Gone, Baby, Gone, for which he also co-wrote the screenplay, about two Boston area detectives investigating a little girl's kidnapping and how it affects their lives. Based on the book by Dennis Lehane, it opened to rave reviews in October 2007. When asked why he decided to direct the film, Affleck said: "Directing a movie was really instructive for me. I think I learned a lot about writing, and a lot about acting, and I learned how all the pieces fit together from the inside. That was really valuable. It was a good thing." The film received favorable reviews. Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly noted that Affleck "shows excellent instincts" as a director. Stephanie Zacharek of Salon.com wrote, "As a director, Ben Affleck may turn out to be quite good with actors [...] But he may need to work harder at shaping material, and at making his characters emerge as rounded, believable people."

Affleck starred in the 2009 romantic comedy He's Just Not That into You, part of an ensemble cast that included Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson, Justin Long, and Jennifer Connelly. The film generated mostly mixed reviews, but was a box office success, earning $165 million worldwide. In this same year, he played Congressman Stephen Collins in State of Play, an adaptation of the British television serial State of Play. The film is a political thriller which raises questions about the relationship between politicians and the media.

Other projects

Affleck's support of the non-profit organization, the A-T Children's Project, began after meeting Joe Kindregan while filming Forces of Nature. Kindregan, who was then 9 years old, has the rare disease called ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T). Affleck attends benefits and spoke to Congress to advocate for the A-T Children's Project. The disease, described as like having muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, immune deficiency and cancer all at once, is progressive; children with A-T usually do not live beyond their late teens. In 2007, Affleck was the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony of Falls Church High School in Fairfax, Virginia, from which Kindregan was graduating.

On June 23, 2008, he appeared in an ABC News exclusive exploring the humanitarian crisis in Congo. Affleck travelled to Congo and interviewed refugees, warlords, and members of parliament. "I think the more painful something is, the more you want to distance yourself from it," Affleck said. "I think the hard part is actually to let some of that go and to realize that when you see some of these images of people suffering in some way or another, to kind of remember that these are people who are in fact just in different circumstance than you are, but that are kind of dealing with [those circumstances] in a pretty brave and enduring way."

In December 2008, he teamed-up with the United Nations releasing a short film highlighting the plight of refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In the media

Affleck appeared in Jimmy Kimmel's video 'I'm Fucking Ben Affleck'; a response to Kimmel's then girlfriend, Sarah Silverman's, video 'I'm Fucking Matt Damon'. Many other celebrities appeared in the video including Good Charlotte's Joel and Benji Madden, Macy Gray, Dominic Monaghan, Lance Bass, Josh Groban, Don Cheadle, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Robin Williams, Harrison Ford, Huey Lewis, Joan Jett, Pete Wentz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Meat Loaf, Dicky Barrett and many more.

Affleck was not in favor of President George W. Bush's stance against gay marriage. In discussion of this, he said: "I don't think the government should be involved in any way in people's bedrooms or lives. With so much hatred and unpleasantness in the world, why would you want to get in the way of people who love each other marrying each other? Anybody who wants to be able to get married to anybody else should be able to. It's not my business." He also appeared in a print ad with his openly gay cousin in support of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Though usually associated with the Democratic Party, Affleck dissents with the party line on regulation of firearms and does not support increased gun control.

Affleck spoke diplomatically of George W. Bush as a person in an interview with Bill O'Reilly on July 27, 2004, saying, "I had the pleasure of and the honor of meeting the President of the United States at the Daytona 500. I found him to be a collegial, affable, kind guy." He went on to say Bush "is a patriot and he’s a man who believes in the country. He's trying to further an agenda he believes in. I happen to disagree with most of his policies, but I respect the man."

Personal life

Affleck had a high-profile romance with actress Gwyneth Paltrow in 1998, following her breakup with actor Brad Pitt. In 2002, he began dating actress/singer Jennifer Lopez, whom he had met prior to filming Gigli. The same year, his engagement to Lopez was announced, and the relationship between the two received much attention from the entertainment media, who dubbed the couple "Bennifer." Despite a wedding planned for September 14, the couple broke up in 2004, both blaming the media attention - including an alleged incident in which Affleck partied with Christian Slater and some lap dancers in Vancouver. The negative publicity and media attention carried over to the 2003 film Gigli, which also was a box office failure.

He subsequently began seeing his Daredevil co-star, actress Jennifer Garner, and the two were engaged after nine months of dating. Affleck and Garner were married on June 29, 2005 in Turks and Caicos, located in the Caribbeanmarker. They have two daughters, Violet Anne, born on December 1, 2005 and Seraphina Rose Elizabeth, born on January 6, 2009. He has a holiday home in Savannah, Georgiamarker, and the family was in Cambridge for the summer in 2006 while Affleck was directing Gone, Baby, Gone.

Affleck entered alcohol rehab in 2001, with a spokesman for the actor saying that "Ben is a self-aware and smart man who had decided that a fuller life awaits him without alcohol."

An avid poker player, Affleck has regularly entered local events. He has been tutored by poker professionals Amir Vahedi and Annie Duke, and won the California State Poker Championship on June 20, 2004, taking home the first prize of $356,000, which qualified him for the 2004 World Poker Tour final tournament. He is a fan of the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots and Boston Celtics.

Affleck got his first tattoo when he was sixteen. He now has about a half-dozen including a tattoo of a dolphin that was used to cover up a tattoo of his high school sweetheart's name. The tattoos have been done by numerous artists including Paul Timman. He quit smoking after starring in the 2007 film Smokin' Aces, in which he was required to smoke heavily, and lost his taste for it after a week of chain-smoking for his role.

Political activism

In the final weeks of the 2000 Presidential campaign, Affleck promoted the Democratic ticket, supporting Al Gore and repeatedly delivering a get-out-the-vote plea: "It's very important to vote. The president will appoint three or four Supreme Courtmarker justices." During the final week of the race, Affleck spoke on behalf of Gore in California, Florida, and Pennsylvania. During a stop in Pittsburghmarker, he – along with Helen Hunt, Martin Sheen, Rob Reiner and other actors – spent an hour at a phone bank calling registered Democrats. "People in my generation have a low voter turnout. One of the reasons that I'm here is to demonstrate that no matter who you are going to vote for ... I think it's important to get involved and get out and vote," he told reporters. "But I'm going to tell people to vote for Gore."

On October 28, 2000, Affleck flew with Hillary Clinton, who was running for a Senate seat, to Ithacamarker, New York, where he introduced her at a Cornell Universitymarker rally. He told the college crowd that Clinton had been advocating for women and working families since "Rick Lazio was running around the frat house in his underwear". Lazio, then a Long Islandmarker congressman, was Clinton's Republican opponent.

On November 6, 2000, the final day of the campaign, he was one of several high-profile celebrities summoned to Miami Beachmarker by Miramax Films boss Harvey Weinstein for a late-night Gore rally, just hours before polls opened nationwide. The Gore campaign's last event, a final effort to energize South Beach voters, did not end until about 1:00 a.m., but Affleck flew back to New York that morning and made a surprise live appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show. It was 10:15 a.m. when he made his final public pitch from a Rockefeller Centermarker studio, noting that he was "a little bit tired... I've been out getting involved, doing stuff and trying to get people to vote. And that's why I came by here". Also, "Today is the get-out-the-vote day and...I think this is the time to get involved, especially the young folks who are here ... I'm about to go vote," He then said, "I am personally gonna vote for Al Gore".

As votes were tallied that night, Affleck told Salon.com's Amy Reiter, "I'm nervous this evening, but one of the things that's exciting to me is the number of people who voted. No matter who wins, I think it's a healthy thing for our country that so many voters have come out and participated in the process. Either way, I think the most important number will be the turnout".

In the May 2001 issue of GQ, Affleck said, "My fantasy is that someday I'm independently wealthy enough that I'm not beholden to anybody, so I can run for Congress on the grounds that everyday people should be in government". However, when he was asked about his political ambitions in an April 2009 interview to promote the 2009 film, State of Play, Affleck said, "I really like my job that I have now. Plus, unlike in Hollywood where you need one director to hire you, in politics you have to have a lot of people to vote for you. I think it's harder work. I really am happy with what I'm doing now. In fact I've never been at a place where I've felt better about going to work everyday. I'm more engaged and very, very happy."

In 2004, Affleck actively campaigned for Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. During the first day of the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he was featured on Larry King Live with Tucker Carlson and Al Sharpton. Larry King asked if he would consider running for office, and Affleck admitted to contemplating the proposition. Specific attention focused on whether he would run for Kerry's open Senate seat (as Affleck was from Massachusettsmarker). He noted that the line between politics and entertainment is becoming increasingly blurred, as political figures Ronald Reagan, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, both came from the entertainment business, although both were members of the Republican Party.

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1981 The Dark End of the Street Kid in the street Ben Affleck's first film
1984 The Voyage of the Mimi C.T. Granville
1987 Hands of a Stranger Billy Hearn TV film
1992 School Ties Chesty Smith
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Player 10 Cameo role
1993 Dazed and Confused Fred O'Bannion
1995 Mallrats Shannon Hamilton
1996 Glory Daze Jack
1997 Good Will Hunting Chuckie Sullivan Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
All the following shared with Matt Damon:
Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Writer
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Newcomer of the Year
Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
Humanitas Prize (Feature Film Category)
National Board of Review Special Achievement in Filmmaking
Satellite Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated — London Film Critics' Circle Award for Screenwriter of the Year
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated — Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay












Chasing Amy Holden McNeil
Going All the Way Tom "Gunner" Casselman
1998 Shakespeare in Love Ned Alleyn Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated — American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Armageddon A.J. Frost Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Performance - Male

Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo (shared with Liv Tyler)

Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Phantoms Sheriff Bryce Hammond
1999 Dogma Bartleby
Forces of Nature Ben Holmes
200 Cigarettes Bartender
2000 Bounce Buddy Amaral Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (shared with Gwyneth Paltrow)
Reindeer Games Rudy Duncan
Boiler Room Jim Young
Joseph: King of Dreams Joseph Voice
2001 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back Holden McNeil/Himself
Pearl Harbor 1st Lt/Captain Rafe McCawley
2002 The Sum of All Fears Jack Ryan
Changing Lanes Gavin Banek
2003 Daredevil Matt Murdock/Daredevil Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (shared with Jennifer Garner)
Gigli Larry Gigli
Paycheck Michael Jennings
2004 Surviving Christmas Drew Latham
Jersey Girl Ollie Trinke
2005 Elektra Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Scene cut)
2006 Clerks II Gawking Guy
Hollywoodland George Reeves Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Volpi Cup
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Hollywood Film Festival Award for Supporting Actor of the Year
Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture




Man About Town Jack Giamoro
2007 Gone Baby Gone Director, co-writer, producer
Austin Film Crtics Award for Best First Film
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Filmmaker
Hollywood Film Festival Award for Breakthrough Director of the Year
National Board of Review Award for Best Directorial Debut
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Breakthrough Filmmaker




Smokin' Aces Jack Dupree
2009 He's Just Not That Into You Neil
State of Play Stephen Collins
Extract Dean
2010 The Company Men Bobby Walker post-production
The Town Doug MacRay filming. director


References

  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 http://www.familytreelegends.com/records/39461
  2. According to Harvard Reports of Christopher Anne Affleck, Middlesex County Land Records, and the birth record of Casey Affleck
  3. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/entertainment/1475583.stm
  4. "Smokin' Aces convinces Affleck to quit cigarettes." AT Pictures.com.
  5. .


Further reading

  • Brashares, Ben. Ben Affleck. Aladdin Paperbacks Publishing Staff, 1999. ISBN 0-689-82547-1
  • Wellman, Sam. Ben Affleck. Facts on File, Inc., 1999. ISBN 0-7910-5331-8
  • Wukovits, John F. Ben Affleck. Lucent Books, 2004. ISBN 1-59018-323-1


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