When you think of the Sundance Film Festival, one of the last names that might come to mind is Ben Affleck. From 1998 until 2004, he was one of Hollywood’s top leading men, cranking out such high-profile blockbusters as “Armageddon,” “Daredevil” and “The Sum of All Fears.” Now, a half-decade after “Gigli” and “Jersey Girl” closed the book on that chapter of his career, Affleck continues to reinvent himself as a serious-minded actor and filmmaker.
“I’ve been here a few times,” he said when we caught up with him over the weekend, insisting that his indie roots in films like “Good Will Hunting” and “Chasing Amy” are as much a part of his career as mainstream attempts like “Bounce” or “Surviving Christmas.” “It’s snow and movies.”
These days, Affleck is promoting “The Company Men” — an intimate drama about men dealing with a round of corporate downsizing at their company. Co-starring Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones, the film premiered to mostly positive reviews over the weekend and Affleck hopes to continue riding a wave of renaissance fueled by his acclaimed acting in “Hollywoodland” and filmmaking instincts with “Gone Baby Gone.”
“[Sundance has also] become something [else]; there’s weirdly snow, movies and giveaway lounges, which somehow goes along with that,” Affleck observed of the ubiquitous “swag” given to celebrities like himself. “I don’t know when that happened.”
Like Affleck, Sundance has evolved over the years — but while many think the latter has become more commercialized, it could be argued that the former has gone in the opposite direction. “Company Men” is a gritty film that places acting at the forefront, and Affleck is hard at work these days putting the finishing touches on “The Town,” a crime drama starring Jeremy Renner and Blake Lively — and due in theaters this September, just in time to kick off awards season. In his free time, however, he doesn’t have much time to be so high-minded.
“When you have kids, man, [it all changes],” he explained. “I watch movies and I have my kids. I’ve got ’Sesame Street’ [to watch], you know what I mean? My bandwidth is narrow for things I can watch.”
Unfortunately, he told us, having kids also cuts into his reality-show time. “You know, I haven’t gotten into [url id=”http://www.mtv.com/shows/jersey_shore/series.jhtml”]’Jersey Shore'[/url] yet,” the “Jersey Girl” star said. “But I feel like I have to.”
The MTV Movies team is all over the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Go to Sundance.MTV.com for exclusive clips, reviews, photos and interviews with everyone from Kristen Stewart and Ryan Reynolds to Ben Affleck and James Franco.
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Company Men.”
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