Ben Affleck has dipped his toe into many, many different genres during his long acting career – including Kevin Smith comedy movies, to dumb disaster movie Armageddon, thriller movies such as State of Play and The Town, and of course his superhero movie roles – Daredevil and Batman. But most people are agreed on the role that Ben Affleck was born to play – and that’s Nick Dunne in David Fincher‘s Gone Girl.
Ben Affleck is one of the most memeable people on the planet – whether he’s having an existential crisis because his Batman movies weren’t quite what he hoped, or having an ennui-filled smoke break, or contemplating the ocean while sporting an alarmingly oversized back tattoo, or carrying enough Dunkin iced coffees to kill a small horse.
And this is the precise reason why he works so well in one of the best Ben Affleck movies – as a man who attempts to look normal and not suspicious at all after his wife goes missing. David Fincher cast Affleck based on his public-facing smile, as he explained to Playboy, via Vanity Fair in 2014; “You cast movies based on critical scenes. In Gone Girl there’s a smile the guy has to give when the local press asks him to stand next to a poster of his missing wife.”
Fincher continued; “I flipped through Google Images and found about 50 shots of Affleck giving that kind of smile in public situations. You look at them and know he’s trying to make people comfortable in the moment, but by doing that he’s making himself vulnerable to people having other perceptions about him.” A fun additional layer to this story is that Google Images was invented because of Affleck’s now wife – Jennifer Lopez.
So many people googled the green Versace dress that J-Lo wore to the 2000 Grammys that Google realized that images were just as – or even more – important than text. Speaking of J-Lo, Fincher brought her up in the 2014 interview; “In Ben’s case, what many people don’t know is that he’s crazy smart, but since he doesn’t want that to get awkward, he downplays it. I’m sure when he was a 23-year-old and all this career-success shit was happening for him, he was like, ‘I just want to go to the after-party and meet J-Lo.’ I’m sure he said a lot of glib shit and people went, Ugh, fake.”
“If you have a lot of success when you’re young and good-looking, you realize it’s OK to let people write you off. It’s the path of least resistance. You don’t want to be snowbound with them anyway. I think he learned how to skate on charm. I needed somebody who not only knew how to do that but also understood the riptide of perceived reality as opposed to actual reality.”