Ben Affleck’s sitting pretty now on top of the Hollywood heap. Not so long ago the man was the butt of jokes about some of the dirge he’s been attached to, but suddenly 2013 became the year of Affleck. He’s critically acclaimed and publicly lauded for his work as a director and actor in “Argo”, ending up with one of those Oscar statuettes that mean that yes, the people like you, they really like you.
It’s been a career of peaks and troughs, with some high notes and a lot of low ones. The whole thing started inauspiciously 40 years ago, when Affleck was born. Already he was forced to contend with great difficulties: his birth name was Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt, for one thing, ensuring no-one at school could possibly take him seriously.
It got better from there, though. Through childhood he liked films, and by 1997 he had managed to be good enough at films to win an Academy Award, looking all sheepish and cute with his BFF Matt Damon on the red carpet at the ceremony. He was the toast of Tinseltown, a bright young thing with ambitions and dreams and an endless supply of people willing to throw wads of money at him.
By the time of the dotcom crash, Affleck took a tumble too. Like many of the internet companies’ stocks, he was bloated by his own delusion of grandeur and willing to splurge it all on vanity projects that went nowhere and stunk up the place. “Pearl Harbor” was one of the big-budget disasters that sunk very publicly, linking it to its source material more than Affleck might’ve liked.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, Affleck mixed work and pleasure. Everyone pointed and laughed at “Gigli”, one of the worst movies ever, in which he decided to try and make his girlfriend/fiancee/wife Jennifer Lopez into a serious star in the movie industry. Instead people just looked on, bemused. There’s a film called “Daredevil” out there too: you might find it in the reduced grabbag section of your local store.
And so after that Affleck took a step back from the limelight, chastened by the negative coverage he received. He retreated and decided to live high on the hog formed by his early success. Tentatively, he came back into the glare of the media world and it turns out that actually he’s capable of making sensible decisions about projects and doing good stuff. He’s reached the apex of his career, and everyone’s excited to see what he’s going to do next. Good on him.