Welp, the cat’s out of the bag — or should we say the tat? Two years after Ben Affleck claimed his massive back tattoo was simply the magic of movie makeup, the real thing made its official and undeniable debut on a beach in Hawaii.
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The vivid piece — which takes up nearly all of Affleck’s back — depicts a phoenix rising from the ashes. It was spotted because a training session for his new film, Triple Frontier, apparently required Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, Oscar Isaac and Garrett Hedlund to de-shirt and dive into the ocean (not that we’re complaining, bless).
While a star having a tattoo typically isn’t a particularly big deal, Affleck’s is garnering plenty of media attention because of he had previously claimed it was fake.
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People said it had reported the ink was legit in 2016 but Affleck countered, telling Extra‘s Mario Lopez that it was “fake for a movie. I actually do have a number of tattoos but I try to have them in places where you don’t have to do a lot of cover-up. They get sort of addictive, tattoos, after a while.”
Comically, his ex wasn’t quite as coy about the sizeable tat. The same year he denied having it, Affleck’s then-estranged wife Jennifer Garner joked to Vanity Fair, “You know what we would say in my hometown about that? ‘Bless his heart.'”
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At this point, it’s unclear whether the colorful tattoo will make a cameo in Triple Frontier. To that end, little is known about the film at this point, other than the director (J.C. Chandor) and several actors attached to the project. But according to IMDb, it’s set to release in 2019 and is “an action-adventure story set in the border zone between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.”
Considering the cast we already know about, though, we’re inclined to look forward to the film regardless (or maybe in spite) of any further phoenix sightings.
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