Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt was born on August 15, 1972 in Berkeley, California, USA, and was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. His mother, Chris Anne (née Boldt), is a school teacher, and his father, Timothy Byers Affleck, is a social worker; the two are now divorced. Ben has a younger brother, actor Casey Affleck, who was born in 1975. He is mostly of English, Irish, German, and Scottish ancestry. His middle name, “Géza”, is after a family friend.
Affleck wanted to be an actor ever since he could remember and his first acting experience was for a Burger King commercial, when he was on the PBS mini-series The Voyage of the Mimi (1984). It was also at that age when Ben met his lifelong friend and fellow actor, Matt Damon. They played little league together and took drama classes together. Ben’s teen years consisted of mainly TV movies and small television appearances including Hands of a Stranger (1987) and The Second Voyage of the Mimi(1988). He made his big introduction into feature films in 1993 when he was cast inDazed and Confused (1993). After that, he did mostly independent films like Kevin Smith‘s Mallrats (1995) and Chasing Amy (1997) which were great for Ben’s career, receiving renowned appreciation for his works at the Sundance film festival. But the success he was having in independent films didn’t last much longer and things got a little shaky for Ben. He was living in an apartment with his brother Casey and friend Matt, getting tired of being turned down for the big roles in films and being given the forgettable supporting ones. Since Matt was having the same trouble, they decided to write their own script, where they could call all the shots. So, after finishing the script forGood Will Hunting (1997), they gave it to their agent Patrick Whitesell, who showed it to a few Hollywood studios, finally being accepted by Castlerock. It was great news for the two but Castlerock wasn’t willing to give Ben and Matt the control over the project they were hoping for. It was friend Kevin Smith who took it to the head of Miramax who bought the script giving Ben and Matt the control they wanted and, in December 5, 1997,Good Will Hunting (1997) was released, making the two unknown actors famous. The film was nominated for 9 Academy Awards and won two, including Best Original Screenplay for Ben and Matt. The film marked Ben’s breakthrough role, in which he was given for the first time the chance to choose roles instead of having to go through grueling auditions constantly. He chose such roles in the blockbusters Armageddon (1998), Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Pearl Harbor (2001).
In the early years of the 2000s, Affleck also starred in the box office hits Changing Lanes(2002), The Sum of All Fears (2002), and Daredevil (2003), as well as the disappointing comedies Gigli (2003) and Surviving Christmas (2004). In the several years following, he played supporting roles, including in the films Smokin’ Aces (2006), He’s Just Not That Into You (2009), State of Play (2009)_, and Extract (2009). He ventured into directing in 2007, with the thriller Gone Baby Gone (2007), which starred his brother, Casey Affleck. Ben followed up by starring in, and helming, the hit thrillers The Town (2010) and Argo(2012), the latter of which won an Academy Award for Best Picture (Affleck was also one of the film’s producers).
Affleck married actress Jennifer Garner in 2005. The couple has three children.
Screenshot from “Gone Girl”