Written by Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
Just a few hours ago I participated in an intimate roundtable interview with Ben Affleck for his new film ďState of PlayĒ. While Iíll be posting a full transcript closer to the release date, Ben told us a few interesting things that I know youíd like to hear now.
The big thing Ben revealed is heís been talking to Matt Damon about doing a project together (their first since ďGood Will HuntingĒ). He says the goal was to do the film this year, but with Matt working so much and Ben about to direct his next movie, itís going to be next year before they can do it.
He said the script is mostly written and he might direct it. He said if he doesnít direct it theyíll find someone together. Ben wouldnít reveal what itís about due to Ďlame political money reasonsí.
On the subject of his next directing gig, he said the title right now is ďThe TownĒ and itís based on the book ďPrince of ThievesĒ by Chuck Hogan. He said itís about a group of thieves in the suburbs of Boston and itís an extremely realistic look at their lives. Iíve heard the movie starts to shoot later this year in Boston.
Ben also talked about Mike Judgeís next film ďExtractĒ. He talked about who he plays in the film and what it was like to work with Jason Bateman.
Finally, as a fellow New Englander, I brought up what it would take to get a Dunkin Donutís here in Los Angeles.
And with thatÖ.hereís what Ben had to say. If youíd like to hear the audio of the interview click here. Just know itís the full interview and not just these selected quotes.
Question: You had a very successful directorial debut. I heard you might be getting behind the directorís chair again in Boston?
Affleck: Yeah, Iím directing another movie and Iím going to act in the movie as well. Thatís a slightly daunting prospect, but weíll see. Iím nervous but excited. Itís called The Town Ė thatís the title Iím using now but Iím not sure itíll be that Ė and itís based on a book called ĎPrince of Thievesí by Chuck Hogan. Itís based on a true fact that there is this neighborhood in Boston called Charlestown where there are more armed robbers per capita than anywhere else in the world. Itís about this group of guys who rob a bank and an armored car. Rather than a heist movie itís very realistic. You see how the guys really operate and what they really do. Itís about their lives, the connection to one another, and the way that where they live is changing. Itís unusual and kind of complicated for a movie that has a conventional genre at its root.
Will you be keeping the Fenway Park climax?
Affleck: I hope so. We are in discussion with Fenway Park right now. We have to get their permission. If they say ĎNo.í I donít really know what weíll do. Weíll have to come up with a new climax. Is it going to be Gillette stadium? I donít know.
Did you adapt this yourself?
Affleck: There was an adaptation already. There was an adaptation that I fooled around with, but it was strong. The author adapted it and it was really good. Iím lucky that it was there. ĎGone Baby Goneí there was no previous writer. This somebody already did all the hard work and all the really good work. Iím kind of coasting on that.
When you hear talk about a possible ĎDareDevilí reboot do you feel like ĎWhatís wrong with mine?í
Affleck: No, I donít ask that question. [the room laughs] Honestly, Iíll get myself in trouble, so lets just not.
As a fellow New Englander, what would you do to get Dunkiní Donuts out here?
Affleck: I heard that some people were pitching in to buy a franchise. Then that fizzled. I would do that. My only fear is that L.A. people would Ö One Dunkiní Donuts donut is 20,000 calories. I love the coffee more than anything.
You can get the coffee at Ralphs.
Affleck: But you canít get the fullÖ
John Krasinski from ĎThe Officeí said he talked to you about it and said there may be a charity one on Sunset. Heís trying to put it together.
Affleck: I would do whatever it took. I told John that so I think heís aware of that. That was who I had this conversation with in fact. He said a couple of other guys from New England would do it. He was more gung ho than I was. He was fired up. I love it. I really do love Dunkiní Donuts. Not to go into a full pitch commercial. I should be getting the Johnny Damon money. Remember those ads?
You worked with Mike Judge on ĎExtractí. I love his two previous films. Could you talk about your character and working with him?
Affleck: I love Mike. Jason Bateman, is the lead of the movie. He is spectacular in the movie. If you are a Bateman fan, he is on fire in this movie. This is the third time Iíve worked with Bateman. My wife has down three bids in Bateman. Weíre a six-time Bateman household. Weíre fans. Mike has a very particular sensibility so itís not just straight down the middle. Thatís one of the things I like about it. I think itís really funny. I havenít seen the whole thing, just bits and pieces of it. Jason is great. Iím playing a guy who is kind of the worst friend in the world. Iím Jasonís friend, but it turns out Iím really into drugs, I like to give him drugs. I keep trying to get him high. He tells me heís got this wife, but heís attracted to this other woman, but heís married so heís conflicted about it. Meanwhile I give him some Xanax. Iím telling him ĎWhat you should do is hire a gigolo to hit on your wife. Then if she says yes, you wonít feel guilty.í Heís high and thinks it kind of makes sense. She immediately fucks the gigolo. Thatís at the very beginning.
What does that have to do with vanilla extract?
Affleck: He owns a vanilla extract plant, basically. Itís very, very funny. Mike is great, a really gifted and smart guy. Jason is terrific. I was just really happy to be in the movie.
The thing about Mikeís films is that heís been screwed over by the studio twice. Is this going to be the one that people can actually see?
Affleck: I donít know. Itís Miramax. Itís incumbent on them I think, because I think it could be a commercial movie if it were released properly. I know them, I think they are smart people, so I have no reason to expect that they will screw him. Iím optimistic, but Iíll let Mike speak for himself in that regard.
Does the timing feel right for you and Matt Damon to find a project to work on together?
Affleck: Yeah, we were going to do something together the end of this year. Then I took the other thing to direct, so that pushed it off till next year. Supposedly weíre doing this thing next year. I think we will. Matt is always pretty busy but claiming that heís going to try and slow it down a little bit. Heís going to do the Bourne movie and this really cool Mandela movie heís doing now. Heís doing the movie that George Nolfi is directing in between. He doesnít mind taking a year to wait. I would love to, itís great, and weíre both busy. Matt lives in Miami so itís hard to get a chance to see him. If we work together itís an excuse to hang out.
Celts, back to back?
Affleck: I donít want to jinx anything. I hope so. Itís great to have basketball be exciting in Boston. Itís a good thing to have some winners. Weíre all right, Boston sports.
Question: Have you and Matt worked out what youíre going to do?
Affleck: We have a project but we havenít said what it is just because of lame political money reasons. This is the movie weíre going to do together and I think it will be good.
Question: Did you write it together?
Affleck: No, the script is actually mostly already written. We wouldnít write it together.
Question: Would you direct it?
Affleck: Itís possible I would direct it or else weíd both be in it and find a director.
Question: Should we expect to see anymore YouTube antics from you?
Affleck: I hope so. If I find something as funny as that, if Jimmy Kimmel writes me something as funny as that in the future. That was really great. I like Jimmy a lot, heís a great guy. That experience was a lot of fun. It was one of those things where I thought ĎWill the Internet still be around when my kids are teenagers?í