Argo opens this weekend. Ben Affleck has been selling it for weeks, and very, very well. He’s smiling for the paps, he’s taking his daughters out, he’s hitting parked cars and leaving considerate notes for the owner, and he covers the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter.
It’s a perfect interview. He is humble, he is grateful, he sounds mature, he is self-deprecating, and ...he tells his wife he loves her on the phone in front of a journalist.
Oh! And he agrees to talk about JLo!
That’s pretty good, Ben Affleck. That’s pretty good.
In service of what?
He wants the movie to open strong, of course. And then there’s Oscar in 4 months. So what he’s really doing is he’s working over the voters. And the voters, they can’t resist this story. This is a story about a guy who was down and out. He was DONE. It was over. But he found himself, and he rededicated himself to the work, the magic of moviemaking!, and look what happened?
These are the dreams Hollywood was built on.
That’s the message this article punches you in the face with over and over again.
Ben doesn’t mind if you bring up Gigli. Ben doesn’t mind if you talk about how he kissed JLo’s ass on a yacht in a video. Ben doesn’t mind if you introduce Armageddon into the conversation. Because this is a COMEBACK. Who can resist a comeback (even when it’s, really, not that applicable because he officially came back after Gone Baby Gone and The Town)?
But I do love this strategy: exploit the sh-t time in your life as much as possible, squeeze the sh-t out of that situation in your favour for as long as they’ll let you if there’s an Oscar nomination waiting for you at the end of it. Just don’t peak too soon. You want to save some good moves for later. Campaign season is long.
In the meantime, let’s go over what he said about JLo:
“We don't have the kind of relationship where she relies on me for advice but we do have the kind of relationship where there'll be an e-mail saying, 'Oh, your movie looks great.' I remember when she got American Idol. I said: 'This was really smart. Good luck.' I touch base. I respect her. I like her. She's put up with some stuff that was unfair in her life, and I'm really pleased to see her successful."
So...they email. And he means to imply that they don’t email all the time which means that they probably email more than he means to let on. I always imagine that Ben and JLo were/are one of those couples that shouldn’t be together but can’t stay apart. That if they don’t self-discipline and restrict contact, it won’t be long before it gets like this again.
But you know, his confirmation that they still communicate only opens the door to ask her about their communication. That’s what I would do if I were interviewing her:
“So, Ben recently said that you email him when his movies come out and that he congratulated you on your American Idol gig...”
And that can go a few ways:
Either she’ll just pick up on that sentence and finish it herself and offer up the soundbite, or you give her a gentle nudge, like -
“Did you see Argo? People are talking about him going all the way the Oscars...!”
And that’ll yield three or four more soundbites and you’re set for at least a week or two of headlines. About a couple that hasn’t been together for almost a decade.
Click here to read the full THR article.
Attached - Affleck last night with George Clooney and the Argo cast at the New York screening.