Exclusive: Ben Affleck says ‘it’s interesting to see stars fall’, is studying Buddhism to keep ‘noise on websites’ away
Actor Ben Affleck, who will next appear in Netflix’s upcoming action-thriller Triple Frontier, spoke about the perils of stardom, and said that there is an ‘absurdist’ and ‘ridiculous’ aspect to being a famous actor.
Affleck, who confessed that he has experienced this ‘bizarre parallel life’ himself, and has been through a lot of these ‘artificially generated story arcs’ in his career, said that stardom can sometimes force an actor to also become the star of a ‘reality show’ that they are neither writing, directing, nor have any control over. “You very badly want to be off the show, which is a terrible feeling,” he told Hindustan Times at a press event in Singapore.
Affleck’s personal life has often been more widely covered than his professional journey. His relationship with Jennifer Lopez in the early 2000s is said to have significantly impacted his career, as has his divorce from actor Jennifer Garner, to whom he was married for 10 years. More recently, these conversations have shifted to his forthright admission about his struggles with alcohol. His personal experiences were one of the reasons director David Fincher cast him in Gone Girl as a man struggling to handle newfound fame amid horrific circumstances.
“It’s interesting to see them (stars) be humiliated,” he said. “It’s interesting to see them fall, it’s interesting to see them come back.” Affleck’s career was in a slump for several years in the 2000s, after what was for him a very successful decade, which saw releases like Pearl Harbor and Armageddon. His downfall was cemented with 2003’s Daredevil. He made a comeback of sorts by switching focus to directing, culminating in his Best Picture Oscar-winner Argo in 2012.
The newfound respect as a serious filmmaker propelled him once again into the big-leagues, which saw him inherit the role of Batman from Christian Bale. In January, after appearing as the character in three films, the actor announced that he would not be reprising the role in future DC Extended Universe movies. Playing the Dark Knight has been both the most popular thing he has ever done, and also the most polarising. But ‘the best way to navigate success,’ he said, is to ‘understand that it is not meaningful’.
Watch Triple Frontier trailer
He said that he has learned that true meaning in one’s life comes from within. “Who am I as a person, how do I conduct myself,” he said, adding that he has ‘studied Buddhism’ to evaluate the meaning true happiness, and has found it to be ‘hopeful’. He said what’s most meaningful is “what kind of father you are, how well you do your work, what kind of person you are to your family.”
An actor, he added, must ‘have the mental discipline’ to separate this from ‘all the other noise and what shows up on websites.’
Triple Frontier also stars Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal. Directed by Oscar-nominee JC Chandor and co-written by Oscar-winner Mark Boal, the film is scheduled for a March 13 release on Netflix.