Saturday January 19, 2013
By ZORIANNA KIT
Actor Matt Damon is proud of his buddy Ben Affleckís achievements.
BEN Affleck is storming through the Hollywood awards season with his movie Argo, and no one could be happier than his old friend Matt Damon.
Argo, which Affleck directed, produced and stars in, won best drama movie and best director awards at both the Golden Globes Awards and the Critics Choice Awards recently. It is also nominated for seven Oscars.
The story of the rescue of US diplomats from Tehran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution has put Affleck back in the spotlight after a gruelling period 10 years ago when he became tabloid fodder while dating Jennifer Lopez, and the couple starred in 2003 romantic comedy flop Gigli.
Damon, with whom Affleck shared a screenplay Oscar for the 1997 film Good Will Hunting, talked about his friendís success.
You must be so proud of Affleck.
Iím just thrilled for him. Iím really happy. Iím not at all surprised, because Iíve known him for so long and I know how talented he is.
Ben went through a rough patch in the early 2000s when the media was merciless with him, his career and his personal life. Was it rough to watch from the sidelines?
It was tough to watch him get kicked in the teeth for all those years because the perception of him was so not who he actually was. I always felt a knee-jerk need to defend him. It was just upsetting. It was upsetting for a lot of his friends because heís the smartest, funniest, nicest, kindest and an incredibly talented guy. And the perception of him was the opposite. So that was tough.
When did that perception change for better?
Itís taken him a long time. It wasnít one thing that got him out of the penalty box. He had to dig. He did a lot of really good work over a long amount of time. The last movie he did (The Town) was a great movie. And the movie before was a great one too (Gone Baby Gone). Finally people now are ready to go, ĎWow, heís at the very top of the food chainí.
The two of you came up together in your careers, and won a screenplay Oscar together. How is it that you escaped the media scrutiny and he didnít?
Ten years ago he was in a relationship (with actress Jennifer Lopez) and he was on the cover of Us Weekly magazine every week. Nobody was more aware of it than him. I talked to him about it back then. He said, ĎI am in the absolute worse place you can be; I sell magazines not movie ticketsí. I remember our agent called up the editor of Us Weekly, begging her not to put him on the cover any more: Please stop. Just stop! And she said, ĎMy hands are tied. Heís still moving magazines all through the mid-West. Sorryí.
So he was aware of what was happening as it was happening.
Do you think Gigli deserved to be vilified in the way that it was?
There are a lot of movies that cost more and made less than Gigli. But for some reason, people think Gigli is the biggest bomb of the last decade and it wasnít. Thereís a narrative that gets attached to all this stuff and Ben knew it. He had a millstone around his neck and thatís it.
As Ben goes through this awards season, what are you feeling?
Now Iím just thrilled. Iím watching him go through it and itís great. He deserves everything that heís going to get. Just for going through what he went through, he deserves it. But he deserves it because he made a great movie. Ė Reuters