Though he was born in California, Ben Affleck and his family moved early on to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where, in keeping with tradition1, he soon learned to love the Boston Red Sox while despising2 the New York Yankees. Affleck’s father, Tim, was an old friend of Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman and a former regular3 at the Theater Company of Boston, which meant that acting and performance were in his blood. By the time he reached double-digits4, Affleck and his younger brother, Casey Affleck, had started acting in locally-made films5 and commercials6, most notably7 for Burger King8.
As young Ben Affleck acted his way through an afterschool special9 (where he plays matchmaker10 for his mom), filmed a school-themed show in Mexico and played an athlete experimenting with steroids in Lifestories: Families in Crisis, the majority of time that he actually got to “be a kid” in his own neighborhood was usually with his neighbor named Matt Damon. The two quickly became best friends forever and in time, their careers crossed similar paths. One of those paths was the 1992 Brendan Fraser film, School Ties, about a Jewish student who faces hostility11 and fear in his New England surroundings.
In 1997 Affleck and Matt Damon released Good Will Hunting, as an effort that they had written together and both starred in about a janitor12 who is also a math wiz. The film, directed by Gus Van Sant and co-starring Robin Williams, earned 10 Oscar nominations, but its most significant win came for Best Original Screenplay, which went to both Affleck and Damon.
Now flooded13 with better acting opportunities14, Ben Affleck became choosier15 — at least for a while — following Good Will Hunting up with summer blockbusters (Armageddon and Pearl Harbor — both for Michael Bay), winter Oscar fare (Shakespeare in Love) and more Kevin Smith films (Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back). In 2002, he took over the role that Harrison Ford last played by bringing a younger face to legendary fictional action hero Jack Ryan in The Sum of All Fears. A year later, he went the superhero route16 to play the movie version of one of his favorite childhood comics, Daredevil.
In 2003, the intense scrutiny17 over Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez and their planned nuptials18 caused almost irreparable19 harm20 to his career. The release of their romantic comedy team-up21, Gigli, was so inept22 that film critic Richard Roeper called it “one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.” Subsequent films like Paycheck, Surviving Christmas and Jersey Girl (a failed rekindling of the Ben Affleck-Kevin Smith magic) proved that the actor was on a multi-year cold streak. The lone piece of good news during this period was his successful marriage to Jennifer Garner.
Just when it looked like Ben Affleck would forever be playing second fiddle23 to his more successful pal, Matt Damon, Affleck bounced back with a sympathetic and honest24 performance in the 2006 film Hollywoodland with Diane Lane and Adrien Brody. As George Reeves, the former TV Superman who died under mysterious circumstances25, Affleck brought depth and emotion to a once-powerful but now tragic character, in a Golden Globe-nominated performance. While the film didn’t do gangbusters26 at the box office, it did manage to adequately remind critics of Affleck’s talent as an actor.
If Hollywoodland and the 2007 ensemble flop Smokin’ Aces didn’t quite restore the luster27 to Ben Affleck’s acting career, Gone Baby Gone successfully gave him new credibility28 in a completely different area: directing29. Having filmed in his hometown and cast his younger brother as a detective investigating the sketchy30 events surrounding the kidnapping of a little girl, Affleck displayed the directing chops of a pro and garnered31 what were arguably the best reviews of his career. In 2009, he returned to acting in the ensemble romantic comedy He’s Just Not That Into You and the political thriller State of Play with Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams and Helen Mirren.
In 2010, Ben Affleck combined his newfound directing artistry32 with his acting background33 to tackle34 The Town, a sprawling crime drama featuring himself, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, and Rebecca Hall, to name a few. As another film set in Boston and adapted from a book, Affleck hoped that lightning would strike twice and that the film would be his second directorial smash35 and just the right film to put his acting career on solid ground again.
1 In keeping with tradition – в соответствии с традицией
2 To despise – презирать
3 Regular – завсегдатай, поклонник
4 Double-digits – переходный возраст
5 Locally-made films – фильмы местного масштаба
6 Commercial – рекламный видеоролик
7 Notably – в особенности
8 Burger King –популярные в США рестораны фаст-фуда
9 Afterschool special – американский аналог группы продлённого дня
10 Matchmaker - сват
11 Hostility - враждебность
12 Janitor - уборщик
13 Flooded – наполненный, имеющий в избытке
14 Opportunity - возможность
15 Choosier – способный делать выбор, не связанный обязательствами
16 Route – путь супергероев
17 Intense scrutiny – особое внимание
18 Nuptials - свадьба
19 Irreparable - непоправимый
20 Harm - урон
21 Team-up – работа вместе
22 Inept – негодный, нелепый
23 Second fiddle – вторая скрипка (на вторых ролях)
24 Honest – достойный уважения
25 Circumstance – обстоятельство, случай
26 Gangbusters – достойно, приемлемо
27 Luster – блеск, великолепие
28 Credibility - возможность
29 Directing - режиссура
30 Sketchy – обрывочный, случайный
31 Garnered – собрирать, запасать
32 Artistry – мастерство, умение
33 Background – имеющийся опыт
34 Tackle – приниматься за что-либо
35 Smash – кассовый успех
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