OnlyOnAOL: Here's the awesome way Ben Affleck defines success
By: Donna Freydkin
Get ready, folks. Ben Affleck is about to spill some spoilers about his forthcoming superhero saga, "Justice League."
"I can tell you I'm shooting my last day next week in Iceland. It was a lot of fun. That's what I got for you," he says.
Another thing on his agenda: the thriller "The Accountant," out Friday. Affleck plays a shady numbers-cruncher who's a savant, and he's being tracked by a federal agent (J.K. Simmons, whose interview is above).
"The part was really complex and interesting. The movie was surprising and smart. The protagonist was so unusual. It was a challenge. It's not that he doesn't want to connect. It's not that he doesn't get emotional. It's just different. He is limited in communicating," says Affleck.
Anyone who has seen Affleck spar with Bill Maher about Islam or break down tax policy knows he's incredibly intelligent and well-spoken. "I'm very verbal. And my character is not. I had to temper my own instincts to explain and be demonstrative," he says. "I used to be much more forthcoming and open and I've gotten over the years more guarded and closed off. Having a family, privacy is really important to maintain."
For once, Affleck, a father of three, is just an actor for hire in this film. Yes, it felt good.
"It's great to just have to worry about your own performance. I'll be in trailer. Let me know when you fix it. You don't carry the responsibility and anxiety of the whole thing. You can go home," he says.
Of course, it's not quite that easy. Affleck had to get into martial arts shape for the film, and did his own fight scenes. Given that he's not wearing a costume, as he does as Batman, he couldn't fake it.
"I did a ton of training for the fights. They had those mapped out months in advance. I had time to work out. I had to be doing all of that myself. I took a beating. Those were all real fighters. You roll around. You get hit. You get up," he says.
His next directorial effort, "Live By Night," is out this winter. Affleck keeps busy, by choice.
"I define success professionally as meeting my own criteria as what I want to do with something. Trying not to make it about how many people end up going to see something, having integrity and holding myself to my own standards," he says. "I define personal success as being a good parent. Three kids is a lot. Three feels like 21."
Given how politically engaged Affleck is, and his work on behalf of his Eastern Congo Initiative, we had to ask: any plans to run for office?
"I can totally imagine my fantasy version of it. The reality of it is: it's a constant fundraiser. It's one long cocktail party. That does sound hell like to me. Our system is hinged on money. I'm not looking forward to it but stranger things have happened," he says.