Ben Affleck on Gigli: ‘I was dating Jennifer Lopez that made it a big f-ing deal’

Ben Affleck did a NY Times Talk which you can see here. (The sound and picture are out of sync about halfway through, just FYI.) He spends a lot of time discussing his films, including his upcoming prohibition gangster movie, Live By Night. You can tell how much of a passion project it is, and how much thought he put into it and into his career in general. Live by Night will probably do decently well at the box office, judging by The Accountant, which grossed $88 million despite mediocre reviews. It was a fun interview to watch because he was in his element, he opened up and was really animated. It was also a study in success, and how Affleck pushed through with hard work and perseverance. He’s at his best when he’s talking about his process and I got a lot out of his talk. Most outlets are quoting him gushing about his sort-of estranged wife, Jennifer Garner, but that came at the end of the talk, (it was during the Q&A and is not in the video online) and I found his thoughts on his work more interesting.

How Matt Damon pitched Good Will Hunting to him
He said ‘I want to make a movie where I’m a genius.’ I said to him, ‘I bet you do. What else happens in your movie where you’re a genius?’ So he talks me into working on a movie where he was a genius. It panned out.

On why he wanted to do BvS – he hated Daredevil
I felt like I wanted for once, like get one of these movies and do it right, like do a good version of – because I hated Daredevil so much. It frustrated me that we didn’t get where – the Netflix show does really cool stuff with that. The stuff was there to do with that character and I wanted to do one of those movies and get it right.

We did Batman vs. Superman there was some alarm about my casting originally but it worked out ok and we just finished Justice League in London last summer.

On choosing to be Batman
I’ve been to the top and I’ve been to the bottom… I had finally come to be sort of free myself of worrying about whatever stuff said and whatever the commentary was and the editorializing was about me and my life and to look at it from my own point of view and my own standards. From that point of view my son was four years old and I was like ‘I don’t want to be Batman’ and he was like ‘Dad you have to be Batman.’

On the progress of the standalone Batman movie
I’m a real believer in not reverse engineering projects to meet a window or date… If I can find a writer there’s nothing I’d love more than to direct a standalone iconic great Batman movie, but it’s been done. Chris Nolan did three really great movies. I’m really mindful of that. I want to make sure, if we do it, we get the great version.

On Gigli and working with Martin Brest
Marty Brest may be the best director I ever worked with… Marty did Midnight Run and Scent of a Woman and he also did Gigli. In a way I ruined it for him, it would have been just a bad movie that nobody cared about [without me]. Angelina Jolie had a bad movie which came out that year – nobody cared, but because I was dating Jennifer Lopez that made it a big f-ing deal… It got unfairly maligned.

On if he’ll run for office
I like the idea of running for office I think there’s something really noble in public service. I’ve been disillusioned… it’s this relentless cash suck… Congress it’s a miracle they get anything done they spend so much time raising money. I will say that the great thing about November 2016 is that I all of a sudden became qualified to run for President.

On his greatest accomplishment
In my career or otherwise, it is the birth of my children. The entrance of my children into the world. It’s a joy to hang out with them. I think the meaning of life is to make good people. [Ed note: he also called Garner the "greatest mom in the world."]

[Transcribed from Timestalk video, additional quotes from E! Online]

Note how Affleck kind of glossed over the critical reception to Batman vs. Superman by saying “it worked out ok.” Box office is king and ultimately it made the movie a success. Perhaps low critic ratings for BvS are why he’s still waiting to do the standalone Batman movie. I haven’t followed his progress with that, but the last I heard Affleck was co-writing it. He’s now looking for a writer, but I thought he already had a co-writer, Geoff Johns. He always, always throws Jennifer Lopez under the bus when it comes to talking about the low point in his career. As for his thoughts on Garner, he’s often been gracious about her and I think he does realize how much she does for their kids.

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photos credit: Getty, WENN and FameFlynet

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29 Responses to “Ben Affleck on Gigli: ‘I was dating Jennifer Lopez that made it a big f-ing deal’”

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  1. lisa says:

    or maybe Gigli was really that bad

    because it was

    • kimbers says:

      Ditto

      Plus jenny from the block isnt the best actress, she always got her roles other ways, if you want to believe the talk.

  2. jerkface says:

    J Lo was too good for you Batdad. Ya bloated dickery do da dip sh*t. lol

  3. Rhiley says:

    This article, more than others I have read about him, seems to highlight his gambler’s mindset. He is an interesting interview, but I can’t look at him now without picturing Jax from Vanderpump Rules. And in my mind, he probably acts a lot like that guy too.

  4. Bridget says:

    Gigli was infamously bad (who doesn’t love another movie where a lesbian is ‘turned’ my the handsome leading man?) but Affleck is glossing over how much he and Lopez reveled in that spotlight. i mean, he didn’t exactly have to take out that full page ad in Variety for her.

    • Nancy says:

      Their real life breakup was so much more entertaining than the God awful movie. The picture spread across the world of him holding her while his eyes were vacant and looking elsewhere while her eyes were red and swollen from crying and then the movie premiers soon after… poor Jennifer. They started the name game with Bennifer, the worse offense of all. Oh well, he was an okay Batman and she seems happy so all is well.

    • Ramona says:

      Omg, I forgot how obnoxious they were. They also did a thirty minute piece in their house selling Bennifer. They talked about how traditional they were (she cooks and he wears the pants) while walking along their boat deck. Then she cooked some beans…you know, to prove she can cook. And then I distinctly remember they were asked if they will try and keeps paps out of the wedding. His response was a reluctant yes and hers was a “hell nah”. She was like, “we are gonna live and if they are there then fine”. And in my minds eye, I could already see Benny Medina booking paps flight tickets. They were both ridiculous.

      Incidentally, iirc Jlo did to Benny Medina exactly what Ben is doing to her. She tried to blame him for her tabloid over saturation as if she wasn’t behind that media strategy. She and Benny didnt speak for years after that.

      • Bridget says:

        I didn’t know that about JLo and Benny – he was basically the architect of her superstardom.

        To me, it felt like Bennifer was the first superstar couple of the internet-paparazzi age. They gave access, but in those early days of internet gossip there was no concept of ‘too much’ and ‘over exposure’ until it was staring them in the face.

      • Tourmaline says:

        OH YEAH now I remember that. It was with like Diane Sawyer or something. And wasn’t that the interview where she was singing her pukey song “I’m Glad” and how it was all about BEN…….and the pink diamond…and… and. Yeah those were the days.
        For a delicious blast from the past http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/story?id=132002&page=1

    • Artemis says:

      JLo has said before that he loved it that she changed him (like wearing better suits and taking care of his looks etc). Plus nobody forced him to slap her ass in her MV for ‘Jenny From The Block’. Dude loved it but couldn’t handle it when push came to shove.
      He had to self-destruct and then wallow in his own self-pity to then marry the girl next door who the public could not help but love and thus in extension love him again. And then came babies and the rest is history, Affleck was restored in full glory.

      • Bridget says:

        You can see it to this day, because while it’s not as noticeable with the constant stubble or beard, he’s very groomed underneath it (it drove me crazy in the Accountant trailers – he doesn’t look like a regular person anymore). And Affleck was an active participant in Bennifer. It got so big because they both contributed – the man publicly pursued J Lo while she was married to another man, for goodness sake!

      • Nancy says:

        Bridget, in the beginning they were everywhere hence the Bennifer crap. She did the Jenny On The Block video with him, they were everywhere. I think she wanted to change her image because of all the mess she got herself into with P Diddy. But when Ben was over it, he really was over it. Like I said above, I can still see that pic of him looking off in the distance as she embraced him. He was done. This is a guy that isn’t warm and fuzzy. Geez he banged the nanny. Heart of stone.

      • Bridget says:

        @nancy my point is that Affleck was an active participant, but has spent the years afterward putting the blame on everyone but himself.

  5. One2 says:

    I understand this was apart of his life,but why does he keep talking about j.lo? You have a wife/ex-wife and kids now. Why not talk about that and your work? This J.Lo/Gigli thing needs to be put to bed.

    • MrsBPitt says:

      I think, it’s because he is constantly asked about JLO! I never get that Ben is “throwing JLO under the bus” vibe. Honestly, when he was with JLO, it was a really bad time in his career. He was making terrible choices in the films he did at that time. I never get a “it was JLO’s fault that my career tanked for a while”. They just happened to be together at that point. And, while Batman v Superman, didn’t get very good reviews, Ben actually got some very good reviews for his Batman. I thought Batman was the best part of the film…

  6. Neelyo says:

    GIGLI was bad, but there have been far worse movies. It was the hype surrounding it.

  7. minx says:

    I think he actually sounds pretty perceptive and decent here.

  8. vbv says:

    JLo was the low point of his career. Remember that highly regrettable and soul-crushing music vid where he was playing with her ass on a boat or smthng?

    What was he on at that point that allowed him to embarrass himself so? Acid or meth?

    • MrsBPitt says:

      I think it was pure lust….I always thought Ben and JLO always had that “I want to rip the clothes right off you vibe”…at least in the beginning…

  9. Jenfan says:

    I watched the whole thing including Q&A. He really was great and very on point. It was really a pleasure to watch – as opposed to some of his talk show interviews – where he seems really stiff and nervous – like someone will ask him the wrong question.

    The Q&A was entertaining as it included some of his self professed biggest fans. Including someone who introduced herself as Jennifer – to which he responded – think I have heard that one before. Another fan who said she had lots of questions – all which are none of her business.

  10. ValArieee says:

    I’m getting tired of him trashing Jlo. I get it she ruined your rep as a actor. Okay you still dated her. She’s a grown woman with kids and a life. Stopping trashing her bc her Latina image ruined your white support. Jennifer could easily trash Ben but she doesn’t. The way he is now he’d never get a women as gorgeous and successful as Jlo.

  11. Bread and Circuses says:

    He’s not so much throwing Jennifer Lopez under the bus as acknowledging that the tabloids went into a feeding frenzy over their relationship and that frenzy wound up casting a very strong light on a weak movie.

    If he’s glossing over anything, it’s the fact the creators of Gigli spent WAY too much money on it. It was stupendously expensive, so no, it wouldn’t have been just another bad movie. It was a genuinely appalling financial disaster.

  12. JoJo says:

    I’m a Ben fan in general, but this irks me and has for a long time. Whether or not he intends to throw JLo under the bus doesn’t really matter because it’s what he sounds like he’s doing – over and over and over again. His statements become the media headlines, and he’s smart enough to know that will happen. You can tell he feels his public crucifiction was just so unfair, and he has to overexplain and rationalize it every single time he’s promoting a movie. “Hey folks, remember that fluke in time when I made a bunch of bad movies? Well it wasn’t my fault, really!” Even if he’s not asked about it, he brings it up. I’m sorry – you took out trade ads praising her, you asked her to marry you and you wore lots of bling and looked happy about it – until you weren’t anymore. This is why I don’t see him actually splitting with Garner. With the nanny stuff going public, his entire reputation was at stake again, and I don’t think he wants to risk ever going back to that place.

    • Jenfan says:

      I don’t think he means to throw JLo under the bus, therefore he should stop taking about it period. But I think he just still can’t get over how there was “hurricane coverage” of that movie. But to his credit I think he was really trying to say how great the director of the movie was – it was just a flop.
      Question – if he truly viewed Jen G as keeping his reputation in place – why did he bail on their marriage – unless he really can not help himself. Also if what they say is true, that Jen would never leave Ben – here is a theory – maybe Jen’s team actually did leak the Nanny stuff – to send him a message and get him back in line. Though I really do find that hard to believe myself since it was such an embarrassment to her.

      Still no wedding rings or public togetherness – I say if nothing happens by the end of January, I think they are just going to live this existence indefinitely – no divorce, no public significant others and no public reconciliation – maybe even just to keep people interested :)

      • JoJo says:

        I think when he was ready to bail, he was at a real career high with Argo and probably felt somewhat invincible – didn’t expect any huge fallout from a divorce that was supposed to go off amicably, without a hitch. But after nannygate, his reputation took a massive hit that was completely unexpected, and I think that shocked him back to safety net. JMO of course.

        Her leaking the nanny photos is a possibility I guess. Seems a bit crazy, but there were also rumors she was behind the leak of the Blake Lively nude photos, after which Ben was photographed with a black eye. :)

        I can’t figure out what I think about their status. I feel like if they really were back together, they’d put their rings back on – especially since Jen is so traditional. I suspect maybe they’re “seeing how things go.” Even though I do like Ben in spite of his demons, can’t imagine it would be easy for her to ever trust him again.

  13. Charlotte says:

    Once again they’ll be together next holidays.He told ‘Entertainment Tonight’: “I can tell you that we’re going to do skiing in Montana with our family and Matt Damon’s family and my brother’s family.” I think that the”seeing how things go” period will last a long time for the public

  14. Mo says:

    His new movie has a 16% rotten score (top critics) and 36% rotten (all critics). Trash. Who will he blame for this one? Can’t blame J.Lo for all the current failures. PS. He looks like sh*t! His looks are just totally gone. His face looks lopsided from whatever it is that he’s been injecting into it.

    His appearance on Charlie Rose was yet another disturbing and startling one. Glassy-eyed, jittery, red-faced, strung out, totally stressed but trying desperately to keep it together… he really needs to get help.