Ben Affleck Calls the Shots

Affleck's Real Directorial Debut!
No, it wasn't 2007's Gone Baby Gone, but a 1993 satire about a psychotic filmmaker called I Killed My Lesbian Wife, Hung Her on a Meat Hook, and Now I Have a Three-Picture Deal at Disney. We asked Affleck to explain: ''It's a 13-minute film and stars a friend of mine, Jay Lacopo, who's now a writer. It's horrible. It's atrocious. I knew I wanted to be a director, and I did a couple of short films, and this is the only one that haunts me. I'm not proud of it. It looks like it was made by someone who has no prospects, no promise.'' In other words, don't look for it on the extras when The Town comes to DVD.

Directors He Learned From
A guy's bound to pick up a few things after appearing in nearly 40 films. These five directors, in particular, helped Ben Affleck The Actor become Ben Affleck The Filmmaker.

Kevin Smith, Chasing Amy (1997)
''Kevin appreciates the written word in a way that most filmmakers don't. They happen to be his words, but still. He hears language in movies, and it might sound like profanity to someone else, but to him it sounds like poetry.''

Gus Van Sant, Good Will Hunting (1997)
''Gus allows actors to discover their own performance. And he forces them to take responsibility, and not think of the director as father figure. You'd ask him, 'What did you think?' And he'd answer, 'I don't know, what did you think?'''

John Frankenheimer, Reindeer Games (2000)
''Frankenheimer was a tough guy. There were a lot of things that were scary about him. But he was world-class. I thought about him during the car chase scene in The Town. He knew how to make those things about the people and not just the machines.''

Roger Michell, Changing Lanes (2002)
''He taught me the value of casting every single part, taking as much time to cast a guy with one line as the lead of the movie, so you create this environment of reality.''

Martin Brest, Gigli (2003)
''A brilliant director who got treated unfairly. He's made so many good movies — Midnight Run! His thing was to shoot a lot. On Scent of a Woman, he fastidiously [pored over] 12 takes of each scene.''

Originally posted Sep 10, 2010 Published in issue #1119 Sep 10, 2010 Order article reprints
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