In Venice to promote his new movie "Hollywoodland," Ben Affleck gave the press a piece of his mind about the paparazzi and how they are ruining the film industry:
"I think more and more people pay attention to actors' private lives (and that) makes it difficult to suspend disbelief when you are going to watch their movie because really what you are thinking about is whatever you have read about them in a magazine rather than the performance they are giving, and it makes the actor's job harder," Affleck said at a news conference. "The movies become incidental pit-stops and commercial breaks in the soap opera of their life."
I'm glad Ben said something because this gives me, and all other shame-faced celebrity scribes, the opportunity to turn our attention to Mr. Affleck, who in recent years made an on screen pit stop in the Razzie-nominated "Jersey Girl," a movie even director Kevin Smith conceded couldn't escape the lingering reek of 2003's "Gigli." (It is worth noting that Affleck would have been largely absent from the entertainment news scene for the past year or so if it weren't for his private life, which finds him happily married to his baby's mommy, Jennifer Garner.)
We all know where I'm going: Ben is full of [this].
There are pushy photographers who lie in wait for scandal shots and some scurrilous characters who will insist on sifting through famous trash cans, but let's be realistic here -- a star who does not want to live life in the glare of the National Enquirer and TMZ.com can pretty well escape that glare by avoiding certain Hollywood night spots, not making one's offspring a desired target, foregoing public drunkenness, leaving Perez Hilton off the invite list for family functions and not making ill-informed statements blaming the press for making their lives harder.
Following Ben's logic we're answerable for Lindsay Lohan or Tom Cruise's over-active off-screen shenanigans -- shenanigans which have resulted not only in increased press attention, but real world consequences like admonitions from studio chiefs and loss of financial backing. But, when was the last time you couldn't buy Meryl Streep's performance because you had a searing image of her pole-dancing on a yacht in St. Tropez burned into your retina?
I thought so.
So, in the case of Ben Affleck, one can only surmise that he will now exit stage left, quiet down and return to the monastic pursuit of filmmaking (oh, and never again re-ignite the rumor that he may seek office in Virginia). If he hurries, he can hopefully build on the momentum of the much anticipated "Hollywoodland" and perhaps, after a film or two, find his name again uttered in the same sentence as Matt Damon's.