In 2003, Ben Affleck was dating Jennifer Lopez and had just starred in the box office bomb Gigli. Now, in 2012, he has directed three commercially and critically acclaimed films, 'Gone Baby Gone', 'The Town', and now 'Argo'. Some would say he's gone back to his roots, after breaking out in the Oscar nominated 'Good Will Hunting', and when Ben is asked about it, he replies that that was the period where he got shorthanded 'as that guy'.
"In our culture, we get very much into short- handing people. And I got shorthanded as That Guy: Jennifer Lopez, movies bombed, therefore he must be a sort of thoughtless dilettante, solipsistic consumer blahblahblah. It's hard to shake those sort of narratives," he shares shares. " If you were looking at that one-liner on me in 2003, which was definitely the annus horribilis [laughs] of my life. I made a bunch of movies that didn't work. I was ending up in the tabloids. I don't know what the lesson is, except that you just have to find your compass."
Affleck also goes on to explain that while there were some movies he liked, he just wanted the constant paparazzi interest to go away, saying ""I just said, 'I don't want to do it anymore. This is horrible. I don't want to be in this spotlight, this glare, in this way. It's tawdry, it's ugly, it's oppressive, and it's inane. So I'm going to try to get away,'" Affleck explains. "And most of the way I did that was by not acting. I said, 'I'm going to steer myself toward directing. I'm going to do something that takes me toward a place where the work that I do is reflective of what I think is interesting dramatically.' People bring up 2003, and I get it. Jennifer Lopez, and 'Gigli,' and all this s*** just kind of blew up. But, you know, in 2003, Barack Obama was a state senator in Illinois! Okay?"
What Affleck seems to be trying to say is things change, and that people shouldn't be shorthanded into becoming a certain image for the public, especially when they are young and it is very different to their actual personality. Argo recently premiered at TIFF to excellent reviews, and Affleck is proving himself to be a very strong director.