And to think it all started with Bennifer.
Like almost every actor, Affleck had always wanted to direct. But it was in 2003, when Affleck was romantically linked to Jennifer Lopez, that he decided to finally take the plunge. The movie Affleck and Lopez starred in together, “Gigli,” had come out to savage reviews and public ridicule, and the paparazzi’s interest in the couple’s engagement was obsessive, intrusive and constant.
“I just thought: ‘This is so gross. It’s destructive to my career, it’s destructive to my soul, to my everything, I want to escape this,’ ” Affleck recalled at the Toronto International Film Festival last month. “I thought, ‘I’ve been wanting to direct for so long, if there’s ever going to be a moment to take two years away from acting and shoot and release [a movie], this is the time.’ ”
A few years later, Affleck released “Gone Baby Gone” ,his adaptation of a Dennis Lehane novel that shocked critics and filmgoers alike with its astute sense of atmosphere, pacing and characterization. Affleck followed up that promising debut with “The Town” a crime thriller set, like “Gone Baby Gone,” in Boston near where he grew up that found Affleck upping his game as a filmmaker with a larger-scale story and explosive action. This week, he’ll come out with his third film, “Argo,” a political thriller that was an instant hit when it played the Telluride and Toronto film festivals.