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Ben Affleck, Uma Thurman, ...

(Paycheck: Doug Curran)

Ben Affleck, you may recall, also acts every now and then. So enough with his love life, let?s talk about his career. ”Paycheck” is Affleck?s first big Christmas release, and his entrée into sci-fi. ”I play a computer engineer,” he says. ”An old friend, a Bill Gates-like computer tycoon [Aaron Eckhart] offers me a big paycheck in exchange for coming to work with him for three years.” The catch? Affleck’s memory is erased, leaving him to figure out what happened. In the interim, he romances scientist Uma Thurman and takes a few sprints around the block with Eckhart?s goons in tow. Hmm. Sounds like that other Philip K. Dick-inspired flick, ”Total Recall.” Affleck demurs. This is ?not about creating fantasies,? he says. ?The computers can only erase what you’ve seen.” Besides, ”it’s much closer to the modern day. There’s no [he affects a Schwarzenegger drone] ‘get yohr ahss tu Mahhs.?”

As for Eckhart, playing a zillionaire was not without its perks. ”I got to wear nice clothes and watches,” he boasts. ”Hopefully, I’ll get to take them home.”

The Killer Moment In an ode to North by Northwest’s plane chase, Affleck goes head-to-head with a subway train.

Originally posted August 15 2003 — 12:00 AM EDT

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