Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck, in full Benjamin Geza Affleck-Boldt, (born August 15, 1972, Berkeley, California, U.S.), American actor and filmmaker who played leading roles in action, drama, and comedy films but who was perhaps more renowned for his work as a screenwriter, director, and producer.

Affleck grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he formed a lasting friendship with his neighbour  Matt Damon. Affleck’s first role was in a Burger King commercial, and in 1984 he appeared in the Public Broadcasting Service’s miniseries The Voyage of the Mimi. He continued acting as a teenager in the TV movie Hands of a Stranger (1987) and in The Second Voyage of the Mimi (1988). Affleck briefly attended both the University of Vermont and Occidental College but left before graduating, to focus on acting. During his early career his height and stature often got him cast as a bully, and he played minor characters in independent films such as the cult hits  Dazed and Confused (1993) and  Kevin Smith’s Mallrats (1995). Smith was impressed by Affleck and cast him as the lead in his next film,  Chasing Amy (1997).

Affleck and Damon, who were living together in Los Angeles, were frustrated by the roles offered them and decided to develop a one-act play by Damon into a script. The result was  Good Will Hunting (1997), a drama that starred Damon as Will Hunting, a brilliant mathematician working as a janitor at MIT, and Affleck as his childhood friend; the film also featured Affleck’s brother,  Casey. A critical and commercial success, the film received nine Academy Award nominations, with Affleck and Damon winning the Oscar for best original screenplay.

Good Will Hunting transformed Affleck’s career. He subsequently starred in the action film Armageddon (1998); Shakespeare in Love (1998), a period piece written by playwright Tom Stoppard; and another Smith film,  Dogma (1999), in which Affleck and Damon portrayed fallen angels. In  Pearl Harbor (2001) he played an enthusiastic American pilot fighting alongside the British in World War II. Although the film was largely panned by critics, it was a box-office success. Branching out, Affleck began working as a producer, most notably on  Project Greenlight (2001, 2003, 2005), a reality show that documented aspiring filmmakers. In 2002 he appeared as CIA agent Jack Ryan in the successful film  The Sum of All Fears, which was based on Tom Clancy’s espionage best seller. Affleck then starred opposite  Jennifer Garner in  Daredevil (2003), the film adaptation of the popular comic book series.

In 2003 Affleck costarred with  Jennifer Lopez in  Gigli, which received scathing reviews. He and Lopez became engaged, and the intense tabloid coverage of their two-year relationship overshadowed his career. Although he continued acting, it was not until 2006 that Affleck returned to prominence, this time as the former Superman actor  George Reeves in the biopic  Hollywoodland, a role that earned him critical praise and a Golden Globe Award nomination. In 2009 Affleck starred in  He’s Just Not That into You, a romantic comedy that also featured Jennifer Aniston; the crime thriller  State of Play; and the workplace satire  Extract.

Affleck’s credits from the 2010s included  The Company Men (2010), a drama about corporate downsizing; Terrence Malick’s impressionistic romance  To the Wonder (2012); and the online-gambling thriller Runner Runner (2013). In 2014 Affleck starred as a man implicated in his wife’s disappearance in David Fincher’s suspenseful  Gone Girl, based on the  novel by Gillian Flynn. He later donned superhero gear again, this time as Batman in  Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and  Justice League (2017); a different cut of the latter film was released in 2021 as Zack Snyder’s Justice League. In 2016 Affleck also portrayed a math savant who works as a bookkeeper for gangsters and drug cartels in the thriller  The Accountant. Movies from 2019 included  Triple Frontier, a thriller in which a team of former Special Forces operatives face a series of moral dilemmas after staging an elaborate heist.

In 2020 Affleck starred in  The Last Thing He Wanted, a crime drama based on a novel by Joan Didion, and  The Way Back, about an alcoholic who becomes a high-school basketball coach. He later reteamed with Damon, on Ridley Scott’s  The Last Duel (2021). The medieval drama was based on a true story of a woman who accused a squire (Adam Driver) of rape, resulting in a trial by combat between the alleged attacker and her husband (Damon); Affleck played a debauched count. In addition to appearing in the film, Affleck and Damon wrote the script with Nicole Holofcener. Also in 2021 Affleck starred in  The Tender Bar, portraying a bartender who becomes a father figure to his nephew; the drama, which was based on a memoir by J.R. Moehringer, was directed by George Clooney. Affleck later appeared in  Deep Water (2022), a thriller inspired by Patricia Highsmith’s novel about a man accused of murdering his wife’s lovers.