• Golden Globe Awards

Nominee Profile 2022: Ben Affleck, “The Tender Bar”

He burst onto the scene with Good Will Hunting in 1998 and his career trajectory has been steep ever since. Ben Affleck, now 49, was born in Berkeley, California, but grew up in the university town of Cambridge, Massachusetts, which was also the setting of his breakthrough film. At 12, he got his first acting job in a Burger King commercial. At the same time, he met his BFF Matt Damon. At 21, he made his first feature film, the cult hit Dazed and Confused, and followed it up with such indie fare as Kevin Smith’s Mallrats and Chasing Amy. He later turned to directing with two films that resonated with him because of the place they were set in, his home state: the thriller Gone Baby Gone and the crime drama The Town.
The actor, who has previously won two Golden Globes, got his second nomination for Best Supporting Actor for a little film called The Tender Bar, directed by George Clooney and co-starring Christopher Lloyd, Tye Sheridan, Lily Rabe and newcomer Daniel Ranieri. Despite the added difficulties of shooting during a pandemic, he did not hesitate to take the role, he says, “because the part was so good and because George was directing it. And it’s really the only time in my whole career that just sort of like from heaven, somebody calls you up and says, ‘Hey, do you want to take this great part with George Clooney directing?’” 
He got some additional input from a certain family member: “My daughter read the script. She said, ‘Oh, you’re just playing yourself?’ I said, “What do you mean?’ She’s like, ‘Well, this, this character just stands there and sermonizes to people the whole time, just like you do.’”
This is not the first time that Affleck has collaborated with Clooney and his production partner Grant Heslov. Almost ten years ago, the duo offered him the chance to direct one of the big projects they had optioned. The film was Argo, the true story of a CIA agent who launched a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Teheran during the 1979 hostage crisis in Iran. The film won a Golden Globe for Best Drama and another for Affleck for Best Director. Affleck remembers: “I always say, I had two great producers. One is the very famous Grant Heslov, the other a guy named George Clooney. They had the rights for the film, but as soon as I heard about it, I said, ‘You gotta let me direct.’ Thank God, George was busy with other projects. I’m lucky because both of them are directors and knew what I needed. This kind of knowledge and support is priceless. George is the most intelligent person in Hollywood, anyway.”
Affleck is generous in his admiration for his peers and has particularly fond memories of the man to whom he and Damon owe their careers: “I am glad I always stayed in touch with Robin Williams. He was a prince, a unique human being. Unbelievably warmhearted, sensitive, loving, supportive and empathetic. He only ever wanted to be his best, give his best. I consider myself privileged to have known him. And I think he was always very proud that we amounted to something.”