If you watch a lot of Netflix films, you may have noticed the original movies they’ve been producing have been getting a lot better. This trend continues with director J.C. Chandor’s Triple Frontier. Loaded with some fantastic actors – Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal – the action-thriller, written by Chandor and Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty), centers on a group of former Special Forces operatives that decide to steal a South American drug lord’s money. However, while you’ve seen a ton of movies about a group of people that decide to do a big heist, what’s refreshing about Triple Frontier is most of the film takes place after they’ve done the job. Trust me; if you have Netflix, you absolutely want to check this movie out. For more on Triple Frontier, you can read Vinnie Mancuso’s review or watch the trailer.
Shortly after seeing the film, I was able to conduct my first extended interview with Ben Affleck. As a longtime fan of both his acting and directing, getting to conduct in an in-depth conversation was extremely cool. Since I knew I had some real time with him, I started off with a few fun questions like his extra work with Matt Damon in Field of Dreams, having Dunkin Donuts back in Los Angeles (we’re both from New England where Dunkin Donuts is everywhere), and the New England Patriots recent Super Bowl winning season.
Of course we also talked about movies.
During that portion of the interview, Affleck talked about making Triple Frontier and the various challenges of filming in the hot and humid jungle, what he took away from working with David Fincher, if he’ll be in Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, how he picks a project, when he’ll be directing again, how he typically prepares for a role, if he likes to visit the editing room when it’s not his movie, if he’s making an Accountant sequel with Gavin O’Connor, producing City on a Hill for Showtime, and so much more.
Check out what Ben Affleck had to say below.
Finally, there is a section of this interview which contains MASSIVE Triple Frontier spoilers. I put a spoiler warning in red right before they begin and then another thing where they end.
COLLIDER: Thank you for getting on the phone.
BEN AFFLECK: No problem.
So, I have a few fun questions—or at least what I think are fun—before getting into Triple. I’m starting with the Patriots. I also grew up in New England. Did you ever think that this was the year that Brady was going to win his next one, especially with the way the season went?
AFFLECK: I mean, no. They started off, what 0-2 or something? Then like, 1-3, or some crazy thing. But, you never count them out because they always have these weird starts and turn around and come back, and get to the Super Bowl and win the Super Bowl. It’s really fun because they’re never really out until they’re actually out.
I never thought this was going to be the year.
I completely agree. This was the left field one. Were you really an extra at Fenway for Field of Dreams?
AFFLECK: Yeah, I really was! Me and Matt [Damon] were in the bleachers and we made, I think, 50 bucks.
Did you know back then, at a young age, that you wanted to make movies?
AFFLECK: We knew we wanted to do it, and that was just a chance to get on a set and be near it. We were trying to do it from a pretty young age. The few times we were able to be extras as teenagers were because movies came to town and would shoot in Boston and we knew a local casting director. So, we got a chance to jump in every time there was a job open.
I’m super envious that you got to be on set for that movie. Next thing is, will Shannon from Mallrats or Holden from Chasing Amy make an appearance in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot?
AFFLECK: Your guess is a good as mine. I haven’t been asked to make an appearance but you never know, there’s still time. We’ll see. I think if it was up to me, I would rather do Holden than Shannon, but I would defer to Kevin.
Do you still find it cool that Dunkin Donuts is in LA?
AFFLECK: It’s amazing! I have Dunkin Donuts everyday. It’s very weird, I have it every day and people are always like, “Where is that? Is that near here?” So, I feel like I’m spreading the word.
Jumping into actual movie stuff. I’m a huge David Fincher fan. He always gets every actor to deliver incredible work. What’s his secret for doing that, and did you take away anything from working with him? You’re an great director as well, but I’m curious if you took anything away from working with him that you want to apply to your future work?
AFFLECK: You know, I agree with you. I think David is a genius. He’s a wonderful guy. I really love working with him. I would love to do it again. I think there’s a secret, it’s just multiple takes. He doesn’t do a lot of coverage, he doesn’t do a lot of setups. He stretches his calendar, his schedule, out. In the morning there will be two setups, and he will do 30 or 40 takes of each. He’s very meticulous with what he wants and how he wants to be. He creates a situation where his crew is a little bit smaller, so he can afford to go longer. That’s really what he likes to do. I learned so much from him. The main thing is just, David’s got the taste of an artist and the mind of an engineer. Just being able to watch him was so instructive. It’s hard to put a label on what I learned, exactly. Basically, probably just by osmosis, I was becoming a better filmmaker hanging around David.
I did a long interview with him once and he said to me, and I never realized this, that to craft a performance he might use part of take 5, part of take 30, and part of take 42.
AFFLECK: Oh, yeah. That’s not super unusual. You always go through…It’s just unusual that he has so many takes to choose from.
His work is incredible.
AFFLECK: He’s a genius.
There’s no words I can express for what I feel about his work. It’s just next level.
AFFLECK: Totally agree.
I definitely want to jump into some spoilers on Triple Frontier. J.C. told me his first cut was two and a half hours. Have you seen the finished film?
AFFLECK: Yeah, I saw it a couple weeks ago.