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For Entertainment Weekly’s February cover story that published online on Tuesday, Affleck spoke to longtime friend and collaborator Matt Damon. During the interview, Damon asked Affleck to discuss a number of projects from his past, one of which was director Martin Brest’s infamously underperforming 2003 crime comedy Gigli, which co-starred Affleck and Lopez.
Affleck began by mentioning that he was a big fan of Brest’s previous films, including Midnight Run and Beverly Hills Cop. The star said he believes Gigli has some “wonderful stuff in there” but that the movie taught him that the public perception of a film can be impacted by narratives unrelated to what’s actually on the screen.
“But for being a movie that’s such a famous bomb and a disaster, very few people actually saw the movie,” he continued. “It doesn’t work, by the way. It’s a sort of horse’s head on a cow’s body.”
The actor, who said he learned about the craft of filmmaking from watching Brest work, claimed he has appeared in “five movies, at least,” that have lost more money than Gigli did. But alas, Gigli still got a bad rap. “The funny name, the Jennifer Lopez romance and overexposure of that, it was kind of a perfect storm,” Affleck reasoned.
“I thought my job was to be a cipher,” he continued about his view of acting at the time. “I can see now how people looked at me and thought of this person as some callow frat guy who’s cavalier, or has too much. It engendered a lot of negative feelings in people about me. There’s that aspect of people that I got to see that was sad and hard, it was depressing and really made me question things and feel disappointed and have a lot of self-doubt.”
The 49-year-old Oscar winner added that the experience wasn’t all bad, as it encouraged him to pursue directing, which he called “the real love of my professional life,” and it allowed him to meet Lopez, with Affleck saying they share a “really meaningful” relationship. The pair split up less than a year after Gigli’s August 2003 release but rekindled the romance last year.
For her part, Lopez has previously laughed off the negative reception of the film, which holds a six percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “There’s worse movies than Gigli out there, OK?” she lightheartedly said to Seth Meyers in 2015.
Affleck, whose latest film is The Tender Bar, has been notably candid throughout this current press cycle. During a Los Angeles Times interview last week, he referred to filming 2017’s Justice League, in which he reprised his role as Batman, as “the worst experience,” due to a number of circumstances involving both the project and his own personal life.
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