Ben Affleck on Jennifer Lopez: ‘She had her biggest hit movie at 50. That’s baller’

Ben Affleck’s big interview with the New York Times, and the start of his redemption tour, dropped last week. He then went on to do an interview with Diane Sawyer which aired in two parts on Good Morning America. I only covered the first part of that as I’m getting Affleck fatigue, but the second part is here. He said he’s not on dating apps, although he didn’t name Raya, and that he’s looking for a committed relationship and wants to stay sober. Sawyer also read a letter Ben wrote for Jen in which he thanked her for being a steady force in their children’s lives, basically. It turns out that Ben gave a similar letter about Jen to the NY Times which did not make it into the piece. He also praised Jennifer Lopez, said she should have received an Oscar nomination for Hustlers, and that he’s still in touch with her “periodically.” Those quotes were cut from the story and we know about them because the journalist, Brooks Barnes, shared them on Twitter. Here they are:

Ben Affleck, suiting up and showing up, as we say. Threaded below are some tidbits from my interview with him that didn’t make the story:

“The first and main thing that I have to say to Jennifer Garner in public or in private is thank you. I want to be really clear about how much I respect her and how much I value the fact that she works with me in co-parenting.”

On past flame Jennifer Lopez … “She should have been nominated. She’s the real thing. I keep in touch periodically with her and have a lot of respect for her. How awesome is it that she had her biggest hit movie at 50? That’s f-king baller.”

Affleck’s character in “The Way Back” taps the top of each beer in a distinctive way before popping it open. “That came from, um, research. I’m not really an alcoholic. I’m a method actor.” (Joking obvs)

“I only really feel good about maybe 25 percent of the movies that I have made.” What’s a surprising example? “Extract,” a Mike Judge film from 2009. “I took a big swing and played a weird character. I really like the way it turned out.”

[From Twitter]

I’ve never even heard of that movie, Extract. I had this job in 2009 too. It was a comedy with Mila Kunis, Jason Bateman, JK Simmons and Kristen Wiig. It has middling rotten tomatoes scores and is available on demand for Showtime, Starz and Direct TV subscribers, but I digress because it’s rare I haven’t heard of a film.

Of course everyone is interested in what he’s saying about Jennifer Lopez, but he’s said before that he keeps in touch with her. It is interesting that he’s still doing it. He also blamed her, repeatedly, for tabloid interest in him and his subsequent career slump after Gigli. That was his whole narrative when he was promoting Gone Girl. Matt Damon half blamed her for it too. Kaiser and I completely agree that Lopez deserved an Oscar nomination for Hustlers, she was phenomenal and before the nominations came out I thought she was a shoo-in for the Oscar. (We talk about that in Podcast #30 at 22 minutes in.) Instead Laura Dern won it for a cartoon character of a performance in a joyless movie.

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32 Responses to “Ben Affleck on Jennifer Lopez: ‘She had her biggest hit movie at 50. That’s baller’”

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  1. GuestOne says:

    Ahh the original Bennifer!

    And I agree that she was so good in Hustlers. Didn’t mind Laura’s win. Her scenes with Harvey Keitel were great.

    • Fluffinstuff says:

      Laura is an accomplished actress who deserved the Oscar. Lopez definitely should have gotten nominated. I was surprised she wasn’t nominated for a SAG either. Shitty Racist sexist industry

  2. Becks1 says:

    I don’t think the comment about her age was shading her. I think its true – its pretty cool that she has had the biggest hit of her career at 50, considering how Hollywood often/frequently/almost always devalues women as they get older.

    • Enny says:

      I think it comes across as genuine. It would be one thing if Jennifer was self-conscious about her age, had given interviews about how hard it is to adjust to being 50, but she hasn’t. Jennifer herself went all out celebrating her 50th birthday – she promoted it with parties and vacations and interviews and seemed to relish being able to live her best life at 50, like she was finally coming into her own. She is comfortable in her skin and is owning this new phase in her life, and I think he’s just reiterating how great that is for her.

  3. McMom says:

    How is that a backhanded compliment? Lately, you can’t bring up JLo without talking about her age – her being 50 is a huge part of the conversation. It IS remarkable for anyone to have their biggest hit at 50 – it shows stamina and staying power. If he had said, “she looks great….for 50,” that would have been a backhanded compliment. But what he said was kind – and true.

    • Leigh says:

      Agreed. I think he meant it as a sincere compliment. So many women (even outside of Hollywood) are made to feel invisible as they get older.

  4. Lightpurple says:

    Hollywood considers women over 35 invisible so, yes, Jennifer Lopez having the biggest film of her career at 50 is a major accomplishment in that industry.

    • Sarah says:

      Speaking of actresses over 35…
      I am re-watching the first season of Friday Night Lights (what an amazing show!), and I’ve noticed than Merrilee McCommas, then 35, is playing Pam Garrity, the mother of 17 or 18 year old Lyla Garrity. I’m not saying it’s impossible but it’s not that usual for people in their mid-30s to have teenagers about to graduate high school.
      And the situation was made all the more bizarre by the fact that the actress who played Lyla, Minka Kelly, was actually 26, making her less than 10 years younger than her on-screen mother. AND Brad Leland, who played Buddy Garrity, husband to Pam and father to Lyla, was of course 52 at the time. Urgh

      • Kate says:

        Yep, many tv shows use the accidental teen pregnancy trope to be able to cast a hot 30-something actress as the mother of a hot 20-something actor/actress playing a 16-year old. Tale as old as time lol

      • Lightpurple says:

        The most well-known is The Manchurian Candidate with Angela Lansbury playing Laurence Harvey’s mother. She was less than three years older than he was.

  5. tdotgirl says:

    How is that shade? He’s giving her props and I think it sends a message that even for some people who have been in this game a long time, their best work is still yet to come and we shouldn’t dismiss people, particularly women, once they hit a certain age.

  6. Celebitchy says:

    Alright I hear you guys and will take out that line.

  7. furbar says:

    JG is not gonna be happy

  8. Scollins says:

    I don’t get the hype with JLo. She’s got some talent but highly overrated. I’ve felt like she has big money selling her same as the Kardashians, Pitt’s awards campaign and others. Hustlers was meh on all fronts. Her music meh and dancing a bore. PR invests gazillions in some people and it works.

    • Sarah says:

      I don’t think it’s fair to put Pitt and JLo in the same category, they have a real, actually discernible talent contrary to the Kartrashians. Even if you consider that Kim’s talent is having sex, that doesn’t really cut it given how boring her infamous sex tape is. She never would have made it in porn, that’s for sure.

      • Scollins says:

        @Sarah I lumped them together bc of their massive million dollar PR campaigns seemingly working overtime.

    • Yati says:

      I agree. She’s a a star for sure but I think her acting is overrated. And she’s a performer not a singer.

    • DiegoInSF says:

      She’s a huge star, everything she does generates headlines the world over, she doesn’t need a huge PR machine behind her.

  9. locamg says:

    Ben is looking GOOD again. Also, re: JLo being 50, I’m taking it as “Hollywood is starting to give women over 30 the chance to have a good part.” Yes? Or is that just me?

  10. Mumbles says:

    “Extract” is a very funny movie that I haven’t thought of in years, but this makes me want to watch it again (it’s on one of the streaming services). I forgot he was even in it, that’s how low key he is in it (in a good way, usually he’s very “Ben Affleck” in his performances).

    • Summer says:

      How have I never heard of this movie? I just downloaded it and I’m halfway through it. It’s really, really funny. I always loved Jason and Mila, but Ben just went up a couple of notches.

  11. Ellie says:

    I chuckle every time I read the word “baller.” Oh, 1990s, never leave us.

  12. a says:

    I’m guessing he deleted Raya after he relapsed last Halloween

  13. Dee Kay says:

    JLo deserved at least a nom if not the win for Hustlers, but we just rewatched the movie again, and the film as a whole does not stand up to a second viewing. I loved it the first time and the second time I thought, This is kind of a small story, like enough material for a 30-min film, not a whole feature. But JLo owns every frame she’s in and her sheer star power is a wonder to behold in the film.

  14. mash says:

    i thought it was shade….

  15. WriterMarie says:

    I really enjoyed JLo in Hustlers. I found her performance to be pretty damn good. And yes, I was even on the “Give JLo an Oscar nod/Oscar win”, which is weird for me because I am not really a JLo fan. However, I feel like as she has gotten older, she has become better with age.

    I do also like Laura Dern, but I don’t really feel she was worthy of it for the movie she won for.

    JLo and Shakira killed it in the Superbowl too, love Shakira!

  16. Velvet Elvis says:

    His comment was definitely not shade. It was meant as I am totally in awe of her.

  17. Sarah says:

    Omg those pictures of JLo could’ve been taken yesterday. The woman hasn’t aged a day.

  18. Carolnr says:

    I took it as a compliment to her & older women in the film industry. I think Ben probably emails or texts her to congratulate her on her nominations, etc. I doubt they grab dinner, but who knows?
    What does f’king baller even mean?

  19. Jules says:

    I think it comes across as unintentional shade because of past comments and how she sort of got blamed for ALL the paparazzi attention and cpmpared to Garner a lot. However, I’m also thinking that so much of that (looking back now) was also the media and Ben still had some growing to do. I think here and now it’s a compliment…but he never would have been allowed to make it when he was married without it getting misconstrued.

    It’s a worthy question. Nothing dramatic or shady about the comments now but in context they could be seen that way from a lot of other angles.

    But I love how J.Lo is celebrating her age – SHe makes it cool and so so many other actresses waging that battle and making that point. I would hope that Ben and other males in Hollywood get onboard or stay onboard. Grey highlights! Thank you!