When I think of Ben Affleck, I don’t immediately think comeback kid. Whether I intentionally blocked out the Bennifer era or I was secretly a fan, I can’t tell. But either way, I had no idea that Affleck struggled to make a comeback in his career. According to him, there were a few years where all he could do was fail.
During his appearance on Any Given Wednesday, Affleck told host Bill Simmons just how bad things were at the time. He said, “If you went by what people said… I wasn’t cool and I wasn’t talented, and I was, like, the lowest rung of cool and talented that you could possibly be in the public consciousness at that time. I had broken up with Jennifer Lopez and I had, like, three or four movies in a row that had bombed.”
Bombing at the box office was just the tip of the iceberg for Affleck. He said he was so uncool that he was the punchline to a United Airlines joke from comedian Robert Wuhl. Affleck said, “So that guy had to look around and go, ‘Who’s below me that I can shit on?’ And he picked me. He did a whole bit about me that I saw on United Airlines and I [thought], ‘This is it, it really doesn’t get much worse than this.’ That was where I found myself when I thought, ‘Hey, I want to take up directing,’ which is for people that are taken seriously. That became my mantra: ‘I’m just going to work harder than everybody else.'”
His mantra worked. He went on to direct Gone Baby Gone, and Argo, which won him an Oscar. Not to mention, he is now Batman, which is probably about as cool as it gets for any guy.