Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Check It. Ben Affleck at L.A. Film Fest.

Last night was the "Conversation with Ben Affleck" event at the Los Angeles Film Festival. It took place in the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live, and began with an introduction from the festival's artistic director, David Ansen, and a montage of clips from Affleck's many films.

Entertainment Weekly's Sean Smith interviewed Affleck about his career, before actor Jeremy Renner joined the two on stage, to discuss The Town--a film opening September 17 that Affleck wrote the screenplay for, directed, and stars in.

I learned--not that it's much of a surprise considering his success--what a strong work ethic Affleck has. Speaking of his early career, he said "I probably worked too much.", and "I always believed in working." He started at eight years old, and today, nearly 30 years later, he's a member of the Hollywood elite, the A-list.

He was funny and charming, and answered all Smith's questions thoughtfully--even his thoughts on the idea that Matt Damon went the Oscar-bait route while Affleck made blockbusters. "I would have done Saving Private Ryan if it was offered to me." he said, sort of laughing it off, then asking the audience in a joke why we're not all working with Spielberg. He says he doesn't worry about Damon's career anymore than he worries about Nicholson's.

Directing doesn't come easy to Affleck, he said he has to do a lot of work to prepare, and was scared every day on The Town. The film is based on the book Prince of Thieves, but the film couldn't be named that, because of its use in the 1991 Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie, another funny point of the evening when that was brought up.

Renner and Affleck got along well, and mainly just complimented each other a whole lot. Renner cracked a few jokes himself, saying that when he went to maximum security prison Walpole with Affleck for research (his character in The Town is meant to have spent nine years there) he went "by choice!".

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

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