Ben Affleck Found Senate Run Speculation 'Funny'
In New York to accept an award from the National Board of Review, the director of "Argo" told THR he's too busy making films to go to Washington.
For a brief stretch in late December, it seemed that Ben Affleck was considering shifting from a campaign for Oscars to one for the U.S. Senate. The rumor heated up when the Argo director-star filibustered and hedged when asked on Face the Nation if he had any designs on the seat vacated by John Kerry, the new nominee for Secretary of State under President Obama; speculation continued to percolate until Affleck issued a Christmas Eve statement on Facebook announcing that he would not seek the office.
Left unsaid at the time was whether the filmmaker, 40, had ever actually considered making a run for his home state's Senate seat. He cleared that up in a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter in New York on Tuesday.
"I was not serious. That was not something that I genuinely considered doing," Affleck said at the National Board of Review awards ceremony in Manhattan. "I thought it was funny that it came out like that, and I have a great deal of respect for the political process, but I'm really at a prime point in my life with my professional career here. I'm loving the opportunities I'm getting, I'm loving the people I'm getting to work with, so that's really where my head's at right now."
That Affleck was even considered a viable candidate for office stemmed from his participation in foreign policy discussions through Argo, a film set during the Iran hostage crisis, as well as his testimony to the House Armed Service Committee on behalf of his Eastern Congo Initiative, a charitable relief organization. That work, he told his Facebook audience, will continue even as he abstains from electoral politics.
"I love Massachusetts and our political process, but I am not running for office," he wrote. "Right now it's a privilege to spend my time working with Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), supporting our veterans, drawing attention to the great many who go hungry in the U.S. everyday and using filmmaking to entertain and foster discussion about issues like our relationship to Iran."
Email: Jordan.Zakarin@THR.com; Twitter: @JordanZakarin