What are we to do with Armie Hammer? Some of the stuff he says is commendable, like the time he put James Woods on blast. Armie’s got us in a real pickle this time, because what he’s got to say is only half as great. During a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Armie called out greasy little alleged sexual assaulter Casey Affleck (yay!) while simultaneously defending acquitted rapist, director Nate Parker (boo!).
To refresh your memory, Nate Parker and his then college roommate Jean Celestin (and later co-writer on The Birth of a Nation) were accused of raping a fellow student at Penn State in 1999. Nate was acquitted and Jean was found guilty, though the conviction was overturned when their accuser declined to testify. Nate and Jean were also accused of harassing her to the point that she won a civil case against the pair. Sadly, she committed suicide in 2012. So yeah, depending on what side you fall on, Nate Parker is either as innocent as he claims he is, or he’s total garbage.
But back to what Armie has to say about it. According to the interview, Armie believes the rape allegations against Nate Parker resurfaced in the fall of 2016 just to hurt the film’s Oscar chances. Armie said:
“There was another person in the industry, who had a competing film for the Academy Awards, who decided to release all of the phone records and information. I’ve been told who did it – by several people.”
He refused to say who at the time, but confirmed later in the interview that he was referring to Casey Affleck’s nomination (and win) in 2017 for Manchester by the Sea. Well, at least Armie’s tea is stronger than Kathy Griffin’s. Armie went on to offer a mealy-mouthed defense of Nate, suggesting he’s not as bad as Casey:
“Yeah,” he says. (Affleck, in fact, had two civil suits filed against him, both of which were settled out of court and dismissed.) “And [Parker] had one incident – which was heinous and atrocious – but his entire life is affected in the worst possible way. And the other guy won the highest award you can get as an actor. It just doesn’t make sense.”
By all means, Armie, drag Casey for filth and insinuate racism and double standards, but please don’t make a fool of yourself by painting Nate as the victim here. Armie added he doesn’t care that he might be saying too much:
“I always open my mouth too much, but fuck it. I think I got accepted into the Academy largely because of the way the Birth of a Nation thing was handled.”
Well you got one thing right there, pretty boy. I’d much rather look at a quiet, sensuous mouth than a waggling uvula. But Armie doesn’t really connect the dots for me on the whole ‘getting admitted to the Academy based on this story line’ thing either. If he’s got receipts on that, I’d like to see them. But can he just upload that as a PDF? I don’t need to hear another word about it from him. If you’re gonna talk, keep it shady. No more full sentences, please!
According to the Australian news outlet, Jennifer said, «People want to set me up and I am just like, ‘No, thank you!'» Jennifer candidly admitted that she did not envision herself being single at this point in her life. «I would not have chosen this life for myself or for my kids. I would not choose to be single or be in this position. It’s something that we are working through,» she said. «I haven’t been on a date, and I am not interested in dating.»
That being said, Jennifer maintains a close relationship with Ben, and they plan on spending the holidays together with their three children, Violet, Seraphina, and Samuel. «We will all be together for Thanksgiving. I love Ben,» she said. «We will be together with our kids and give them a special Christmas. We get along really well, and it’s not an issue. We are friends; we can manage it.»
Everyone’s had a job they hate. We cannot help but occasionally find ourselves stuck in thankless occupations whose irritations and boredom inducing monotony we tolerate solely for the money. It’s as much a part of life as death, taxes and superheroes. Some people grin and bear it, while others don’t even bother to conceal their disdain to the world. It’s rare to see that in Hollywood. It’s the dream, right? Why would anyone be unhappy? For us common plebs, the stench of entitlement that reeks from those millionaires who let the world know they don’t want to be there collecting their massive cheques can be smothering. Yet, in the case of a certain Ben Affleck, currently on the promotional trail for Justice League, I have found myself oddly fascinated by his casual disdain for the job of being the motherfucking Batman.
Endless press junkets, interviews and photo-shoots can be grueling, and nobody would fault even the most patient star for cracking a little under the pressure, but to watch Ben Affleck spin the wheels for Justice League is to watch a man who cannot be arsed with anything or anybody. We all laughed at the meme or him staring into nothing with a look of ‘What have I done?’ etched across his face, but now it’s just gotten weird, especially as the rumour mill continues to assert that Affleck wants out of the DCEU as soon as possible. It’s a world away from the Ben Affleck of 5 years ago who had the world in the palm of his hand after a long-fought media narrative of redemption and auteurship.
In 2013, Argo won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It took home top honours for a number of reasons — it was an easy sell to Hollywood, it was a respectably made affair with top notch acting and enough movie-making pizazz to keep audiences hooked, it was a more palatable choice than other films of the year like Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained and The Master — but everyone knew the real reason it won: Ben Affleck had finally been welcomed back into the upper echelons of Hollywood. Even though he wasn’t even nominated for Best Director, he’d put in the time with his head down and mind focused on the work, and the results had pleased the right people. After years as a joke, a jock, a barrel of wasted potential, Ben Affleck became a serious Hollywood player, and he pulled that off because he had the self-awareness to understand that he needed a serious image overhaul.
It seems like aeons ago now, but during the late ’90s and early 2000s, Ben Affleck was an inescapable force of A-List savvy who balanced the line between charm and smarm. He did big movies, dated beautiful women and tore up the strip in Vegas with major money pots, but still retained that essence of the down-to-earth Jersey schmo. He had his troubles — completing a 30 day rehab program for alcohol abuse in 2001 — but he was open about the struggles and endeared himself well to the public and press.
Then Bennifer happened. Well, the first Bennifer.
Affleck’s romance with Jennifer Lopez was A Big Deal, covering every tabloid for months and reaching levels of coverage that not even his previous romance with Gwyneth Paltrow managed. Lopez, one of the savviest celebrities of the past two decades, knows how to work the press, and in Affleck she seemed to find a willing partner in the charade. He even starred in her music video for Jenny from the Block, poking fun at the intense media scrutiny they faced. They looked good (he was crowned People’s Sexiest Man Alive during this period, and we all know how that process works), they worked a lot, and they became the poster-child for a new age of celebrity coupledom: Tabloid fluent and proud in their excess.
Yet people got sick of them very quickly. Perhaps it was due to the stories of their lavish spending or because those public displays of affection just looked a little too public. He’d kiss her for the cameras but his eyes always seemed more focused on them than her, which felt like he wasn’t keeping up his end of the relationship bargain. Combine that with co-starring alongside her in two almighty flops — Gigli and Jersey Girl — and things soured pretty quickly. Now the romance wasn’t paying off like it was supposed to, and he began to look rather sad.
His career had hit a few bumps too, with the most notable one being his first foray into the superhero world, Daredevil. It’s intriguing that this is the film Affleck regrets making, and he’s not been quiet about how much he disliked both the making of it and the final product. It’s not even that bad a film — certainly not great and with all the markers of a pre-superhero boom entry into the genre — but it felt like the folly of a bro more than a serious artistic achievement for Affleck. Indeed, it seems to be something embarrassing, and that’s how he defined a substantial part of his career prior to the make-over that changed it all.
Two months after breaking up with Lopez, which she put down to his discomfort with media scrutiny, he was cracking jokes about it on SNL, hoping to turn the narrative from Sad Affleck back to the bro you wanted to be best mates with. He had lost that relatable sheen with Lopez. Change was in the air, and there to assist in that evolution was Jennifer Garner, one of only a handful of major female stars of the era with media savvy as potent as that of Lopez. This time, Bennifer would be a much quieter affair, but no less tabloid friendly. Before, it was red carpets and yachts: Now it was baseball games and quaint family gatherings for the paparazzi. Make no mistake: As much as Affleck’s gear shift with his own career helped to make him more palatable to audiences who had previously rejected him, it was Jennifer Garner who was steering that ship to success. With the girl next door charm and a genuine passion for the peace and simplicity of life as a wife and mother (albeit on a bigger budget), Garner helped Affleck make the transition from asshole to loving family man. Nothing wipes away years of gossip scandal life the security of tradition.
It also helped that Affleck sought out smaller projects to work on, like his performance as George Reeves in Hollywoodland, which won him the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival. He was also savvy enough to make his directorial debut behind the camera, making his brother Casey the Affleck of the spotlight in Gone Baby Gone. Film roles did follow, but you got the sense this was a man working overtime to subvert expectations of his on-screen persona. No more A-List action roles: Now, it was serious dramas like State of Play or a return to the rom-com genre in He’s Just Not That into You. His next directorial effort, The Town, was a critical and commercial success, and audiences didn’t even mind that Affleck gave himself the lead role. All of this laid the ground for the peak of Affleck’s redemption: Argo.
Affleck’s interviews during the Argo press tour and awards campaign are fun stuff. He knows this rodeo well — remember, he already has an Oscar — and has the self-awareness to know that he’s a major selling point of the entire affair. There’s a sense of penance in these pieces, like his Rolling Stone Q&A where he emphasizes not wanting to be the same man he was the previous decade, and how fatherhood makes you stop caring about the bullshit of the world. Of Garner, he said, ‘Jennifer played such a profound role in making me a better person. We don’t have a perfect marriage, but she inspired me; and finding myself in that marriage and having a child dovetailed with getting to be a little more mature.’ This was a guy who has learned from his mistakes, knew his strengths and played to them with impeccable focus. It didn’t hurt to have good friends on his side, like Argo producer George Clooney and his old pal Matt Damon, but Garner was the dark horse of the spectacle, always on his arm at red carpets, and smiling with such pride when he won Best Picture, even as he made the focus of his thanks to her about the hard work of marriage.
After Argo, the stage was set for Affleck to pursue a new route in Hollywood as a director of clout. People wanted to work with him and see what he’d do next behind the camera, and that seemed to be where he was best suited (he does star in Argo and his performance is good but it’s not a showy role and is easily overshadowed by Alan Arkin and John Goodman). One couldn’t blame him for getting back into acting for the right roles, particularly Gone Girl, for which he is perfectly cast, but then came the Batman announcement, and it felt like Affleck had forgotten the hard earned lessons of the past. I’ve always been fascinated by this particular U-turn from acclaimed director to 21st century leading man, as it seemed to echo what has happened before following Good Will Hunting, only now the scale was beyond huge and we’d seen how this had played out before. It didn’t seem enough for Affleck to be a celebrated figure behind the camera, or a rejuvenated actor of serious focus and skill in quieter dramas: He wanted to be a movie-star again. He wanted to have it all. Not only would he get to play one of the great icons of pop culture, he would be slated to write and direct a solo Batman movie. The character has a certain auteur appeal given the directors who adapted him in the past, so it didn’t seem like the worst idea in the world for Affleck to dive head-first into the DCEU. Man of Steel received a mixed reception, but people expected things to change with the next film, which would finally put Superman against Gotham’s finest detective for the first time on the big screen.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is an unmitigated disaster, yet Ben Affleck almost comes out of it unscathed. He’s not a bad Batman and he’s a damn fine Bruce Wayne, but he’s trying to rise above a catastrophic trash pile that veers between aggravating and baffling. Reviews were atrocious, and the film failed to pass $ 1bn at the box office as early projections had predicted. It wasn’t a flop by any means, but in the Too Big To Fail world of modern day expanded universes and superhero franchises, the bar is set very high and DC didn’t clear it. That embarrassment seemed to haunt Affleck, and we saw the not-so-triumphant return of Sad Affleck on the promotional trail. Cue the memes.
It didn’t take long for the rumours to fly that Affleck wanted out of the sinking ship before it did any real damage to his career, particularly after he dropped out of directing the solo Batman movie (Matt Reeves replaced him, and threw out his script). Garner split from Affleck in June 2015, but the pair remained a united front to the press, often appearing together with their children in paparazzi shots and being effusive about one another in interviews. As always, Affleck knew who his best weapon was in the press fight, and it paid to keep Garner on his side. She still appears with him in paparazzi shots, often doing mundane family activities that keep the focus on his private life as a normal element of his life even when everything else sours, including being kicked out of a casino for counting cards and re-entering rehab.
There was one element Affleck couldn’t control: The nanny. Christine Ouzounian enjoyed her brief moment in the spotlight after it was alleged she entered an affair with Affleck while looking after his children. She grinned for the cameras, she left clues across social media, and she had way too much fun quietly dismantling the narrative Affleck was working overtime to maintain. There’s a lot to dissect about Ouzounian’s choices during this torrid period, but it was a reminder of the Affleck of old. We’d almost forgotten that for a long time he was best known for being kind of a douchebag. He was always his own worst enemy.
That leads us back to Sad Batfleck of today. Justice League is tracking to a disappointing opening weekend, his most recent directorial effort Live By Night was a massive flop, and every interview with him gives the impression of a drowning man looking for the life-raft. He has a new girlfriend, SNL producer Lindsay Shookus, and he looks more in love than ever. That’s something he’s happy to use to deflect from new scandals, such as re-emerged video of him groping a TV presenter, for which he offered a mediocre apology, and his evidently rehearsed appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert wherein he tried to assert his position as an ally in the battle against sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood. This was in stark contrast to his appearance on Today, where Savannah Guthrie refused to lob softballs at him as she bluntly asked about Rose McGowan, who had accused the actor of being complicit in the actions of Harvey Weinstein. His response was lacklustre, but that seems to be the only way to describe this press tour: Affleck looks exhausted, even as he tries to play by his old rules. A moment of scandal comes his way and out comes the paparazzi shots, be it him looking loved up with Shookus or his purchase of a cute puppy, which he conspicuously carried around for all to see after the Rose McGowan Twitter deletion. He doesn’t have his usual players to lean on: Garner contributes but she’s always been better than this at him (remember when she took a delightful walk with Affleck’s mother?); Casey is a no-go for obvious creeper reasons; Matt Damon’s not looking so fresh these days either. Perhaps it’s only inevitable that an element of self-sabotage enter the equation.
It seems only reasonable that Affleck flee the coop of the DCEU after this film. He can be offered a dignified exit in time for Reeves’s solo film and the mantle can be passed down to an actor who genuinely craves the role. After being asked about the rather gaudy phoenix tattoo Affleck now seems to have adorned across his back, Garner said that she refused to be the ashes. Here’s hoping Affleck makes that choice too, for his own sake.
Ben Affleck appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night to promote Justice League. Ben probably thought that the most awkward and uncomfortable question Stephen Colbertwas going to ask him might be about Justice League’sgarbage reviews. If only! Instead, Stephen bypassed that and went straight for the gross elephant in the room by asking about Harvey Weinstein and Ben’s own allegations of groping.
Harvey produced several films from Ben’s early career, most notably the movie that launched him from That Guy In The Kevin Smith Movies to Matt Damon’s Friend, Good Will Hunting. Ben spoke out against Harvey shortly after he was exposed, and later stated that he will donate future Miramax and TWC earnings to charity. When Stephen asked Ben about the situation with Harvey, he half-joked, “This is a comedy show, correct?“, which I believe is Ben-speak for “I hate being Batman, but can we PLEASE talk about Batman again?”
He eventually answered, saying much of what he’s already said before. That he was horrified to learn about Harvey’s alleged behavior, adding that his experience on some of those earlier films is now “tainted.” Ben also made it clear that he plans on donating future earnings because he didn’t want to “cash a check from the guy.”
Stephen then brought up the allegations made against Ben on Twitter. Ben spoke specifically of the allegations made by former MTV VJ Hilarie Burton, in which she accused him of groping her breast while filming TRL. Ben said he’s sorry, and he’s not calling her a liar or anything, but he doesn’t remember.
“What I was accused of by a woman was of touching her breast while I gave her a hug. I don’t remember it, but I absolutely apologized for it. I certainly don’t think she’s lying or making it up. It’s just the kind of thing that we have to as men, I think, as we become more aware of this, be really, really mindful of our behavior and hold ourselves accountable and say, ‘If I was ever part of the problem, I want to change. I want to be part of the solution,’ and to not shy away from these uncomfortable or awkward or strange encounters that we might’ve had where we were sort of navigating and not knowing.”
The Ben Affleck Reformed Groper Tour also made a stop at the Today show this morning. People says that Ben was asked about Harvey, which turned into a conversation about Rose McGowan. After Ben spoke out and claimed to be surprised by Harvey’s behavior, Rose called BS and accused him of fully knowing what kind of sleazeball he was dealing with. Ben didn’t really want to get into it, but he did give Rose a little pat on the back for speaking up.
“I don’t really want to get into other people’s individual stories because I feel like those are their stories and they are entitled to tell as much or as little of those as they want. I believe Rose, I support her, I really like and admire her tenacity and wish her the best.”
Both of Ben’s interviews contained sentiments Ben has said before, like that he wants to work to create a better workplace for women. So if you’re a journalist or talk show host out there who wants to ask Ben a question about Harvey or groping or Rose McGowan, please see his previous answers. But if you still want to ask him, do it quickly. I could see Ben getting to the point where the second he senses an incoming sexual harassment question, he just calls for his new dog and sneaks off stage while it distracts everyone. What’s the point of having a PR dog if you don’t get to use it?
We all know by now that Ben Affleck’s once-shiny dreams of playing Batman have turned into a nightmare. Little by little by little, Ben’s unenthusiastic involvement with a standalone Batman film has shrunk to an awkward situation. Not even his brother can see Ben wrapping his bloated muscles in black rubber anymore. So it might be time to find a new Batman, and apparently the first name on the list of possible Affleck replacements is Jake Gyllenhaal.
An official decision regarding Ben’s future as Batman hasn’t been made, but according to Campea (via Screen Rant), The Batman director Matt Reeves wants it to be Jake. A source adds that Jake has taken a meeting with Matt Reeves not long ago.
This isn’t the first time Jake Gyllenhaal has been rumored to play Batman. More than a decade ago, Jake was reportedly considered by Christopher Nolan to play Batman in Batman Begins (the role of course went to Christian Bale). Jake was also rumored to replace Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man, which obviously never panned out. But it seems like he’s really interested in playing superheroes, so this might end up happening.
Screen Rant notes that if Jake does replace Ben, then this will possibly be another reboot of the franchise. That’s the only way they could explain that switch-up; because it sure as hell won’t look like it takes place in the same universe. I don’t know how they could possibly explain why Batman went from a grizzled 45-year-old dude who looks like he’s one soft chair away from a nap to a cute-faced 36-year-old whose favorite activity is cuddling and blushes if you compliment his hair.
On a scale from Harvey Weinstein to…everyone else, it’s probably safe to say Ben Affleck might not be high up on the creep-o-meter. He doesn’t have a decades-long reputation for hotel room business meetings with massage requests (not a high bar to clear). However, he has been accused of groping women in the past. Ben knows there’s a sexual harassment problem in Hollywood, and in a move that I’m sure definitely didn’t involve a conversation with his publicist, he claims he wants to help fix it.
Allegations were made by multiple women, including former MTV VJ Hilarie Burton, who say that Ben groped them. Ben is currently promoting Justice League, a film which features one of 2017’s favorite superheros, Wonder Woman. Ben spoke about the allegations with the Associated Press (via The Hollywood Reporter), and not because Gal Gadot was asked if she’s ever considered using Wonder Woman’s invisible lasso to prevent his hands from touching stuff he’s not supposed to.
Ben claims he’s “looking at” and addressing his own behavior, and making sure he’s “part of the solution.” According to Ben, that’s a two-part solution. First, he believes more women need to be “pushed to power.” I hope Ben is talking about a metaphorical push and not a physical one, because, remember Ben, putting your hands on women is a no-no.
The second part is for men to accept sexual harassment as a “men’s issue,” and to call other men out for harassment. If Ben is serious about helping turn things around, maybe he could hold re-education seminars in Hollywood to teach sleaze bags not to sexually harass women at work. Maybe he could start small. Like with a one-on-one class with his brother Casey Affleck. Lesson one Stop it, Casey.
Here’s more of Ben and the rest of the Justice League cast at a photo call in London on Saturday.
Though under a cloud of sexual harassment allegations, Casey Affleck won the Academy Award for Best Actor last January for his performance in Manchester By The Sea. Winning means that per tradition, he will present the Best Actress award at next year’s ceremony. And in the wake of the Weinstein scandal, having an alleged harasser present that honor seems crass, right? Tens of thousands think so as they sign a pair of online petitions calling for Affleck to be barred from this Oscar honor.
Considering the rising awareness of sexual harassment and its prevalence, cutting Affleck from the ceremony is the very least they could do. But I don’t know how much we should expect from an awards show that in 2013 allowed Seth Macfarlane to mock many of its female members in the jaw-droppingly offensive musical number, «We Saw Your Boobs.» However, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did oust Harvey Weinstein over his allegations of abuse. So maybe there’s a change in the air. Maybe Affleck might even be next? But probably not.
Realistically, the Academy will likely ignore these petitions as long as they can. Then once we have the nominees, they’ll have some hard questions to face. Because if even one of the nominated women is among Weinstein’s accusers—or an accuser of Toback, Ratner, or the growing number of harassing power players—the Academy won’t want the photos and headlines resulting from pushing a victimized woman to share her spotlight with another alleged abuser. And even shifting him to Best Actor could be a problem, as more and more male victims of sexual harassment and abuse surface. Regardless, how the Academy decides to handle this Affleck situation will be a public statement. It will show where they choose to draw the line when it comes to allegations of harassment. And the world will be watching.
It’s that time again when we check in on Ben Affleck’s relationship with his girlfriend of questionable originLindsay Shookus. After three (public, at least) months of being together, Ben and Lindsay have made that all-important relationship leap of getting papped shopping for a multi-million dollar mansion together.
TMZ says that yesterday, Ben and Lindsay spent the day looking at houses on the west side of Los Angeles. It’s not known whether the house will be just for Ben or for both of them, but whatever gets bought will surely be fancy.
TMZ says they were seen looking at a $ 18.5 million home in the Santa Monica mountains as well as $ 12 million homes in Pacific Palisades and Brentwood. Ben and Lindsay allegedly stayed at the Santa Monica mansion for over an hour, and Lindsay was seen holding the spec sheet when they left. Whatever house gets chosen, I hope it has a big backyard for Ben’s damage control doggie and touch football games with BFF Tom Brady.
Lindsay lives in NYC for her job at Saturday Night Live, as well as for her ex-husband and daughter. As much as I believe in the power of a good attention-grabbing stunt, I don’t think this house will be Ben and Lindsay’s. I guess we’ll only know for sure that she’s living there half the time if in about a month after moving in, a “source” tattles to a tabloid about Ben’s slob ways. I can see a “source” getting tired of pulling soggy cheeseburger wrappers out of the pool filter every time Ben decides to eat in the hot tub.
In a move that I’m sure has absolutely nothing to do with controlling the damage caused by last week’s PR nightmare, Ben Affleck has recently adopted a stray dog. Ben may have hands of cheap nickel, but he’s got a heart of pure gold.
A source tells Entertainment Tonight says that Ben fell in love with a stray husky in Los Angeles a month ago. Ben’s dog, whose name isn’t currently known, was papped yesterday.
Of course the skeptic in me can’t help but notice the timing of Ben’s dog adoptions and subsequent public debut always seem to happen after something bad has happened. I’m sure I’m just overthinking it! As for how Ben has been doing lately – because I’m sure you’ve been worried about poor Ben – ET’s source says he’s doing fine.
“He continues to work on himself. He’s happy,” the source adds.”Ben is focused on staying healthy. And he’s enjoying his time with Lindsay [Shookus].”
Well, the best of luck to Ben and his new dog, and especially to Lindsay. My family’s former dog was a husky, and she shed like she had a family of smaller dogs living under her fur. Although I’m sure Lindsay will be fine. Random clumps of husky fur stuck to your pants is nothing compared to waking up and finding the left side of your pajamas soaked with Ben’s sweat after he had another nightmare about playing Batman.