The Ben Behind the Headlines

Speaking of making movies -- didn't you option Dennis Lehane's detective novels?
I'm working on tryin' to adapt them. I'm starting on ''Gone, Baby, Gone.'' I love those books. And I'm psyched because Paramount loves ''Mystic River'' and they're like, ''Let's go, turn it in, let's do it.''

Is that next?
BA That's what I'm focusing on. I'm going to do this movie at Disney called ''Glory Road.'' It's a true story about a [basketball] coach from Texas Western who was the first guy to put five black college athletes on the floor and won the national championship. Jerry Bruckheimer is doing it.

You've said that you have political aspirations, that you might want to run for Congress. So, what do you make of Arnold?
I suppose it means that if I did run for office, no one could say I was the worst actor ever to be elected. I mean, you could even make the Reagan case. But that was a while ago.

And at least you've never acted with a chimp.
[Laughs] I didn't do any monkey pictures. Although there was a monkey in ''Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.''

How do you feel about that Off Broadway play ''Matt & Ben,'' about you guys before you were famous, and acted by two women? Did you hear about this and think, How weird is my life?
I've vaguely heard about it. I just see it as part of this whole [flips through clips] stack of stuff. I have no interest in seeing it for the same reason I have no interest in reading about myself. It just seems like a snake eating its tail.

When all this madness ends, what do you see on the other side? At some point this has got to end, right?
I pray to God. I had thought we reached the saturation point about eight months ago. The thing that's unfortunate is I think most people are really sick of the same goddamn story. I feel bad, sorta responsible. Like, ''I know! I'm sick of it too! I wish they weren't doing it! It's not my fault!''

I hope what's on the other side is a better life. Ultimately what I'd really like to do is to stop acting and start writing and directing. And I think I will, maybe even with the Lehane book. Because this aspect of it [waves at files] makes acting not worth it. You're well paid, but one of the worst ways to get rich is acting. I mean, I suppose there are worse ways to get rich, like being a war profiteer or something.

Life has been good to me. But I'd like to live a different kind of life. Something different from this.

Originally posted Nov 14, 2003 Published in issue #737 Nov 14, 2003 Order article reprints

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