Ben Affleck was in a strange mood when he and his “Surviving Christmas” co-star Christina Applegate turned up to promote their holiday comedy “Surviving Christmas”. Affleck was in a playful mood, not interested in taking this interview seriously, occasionally resting his head on Applegate’s lap, while letting his arms wander. It was, to put it mildly, an odd experience.
Since these two were partnered together and trying to make complete sense of Affleck on his own would be a considerable challenge, what follows below is the rather interesting, and often comical exchange that occurred between this probing journalist and the two stars who clearly were keen for this whole experience to be behind them. As for “Surviving Christmas”, it’s a comedy about a guy who rents a family in order for him not to be alone at Xmas, but somehow this interview was about more than just the movie.
Question: So this your first time being paired up with Ben for interviews, Christina?
Christina Applegate: Yeah.
Question: And how’s the experience then?
Christina Applegate: It’s been good so far hasn’t it Benny boy?
Ben Affleck: I love it myself.
Christina Applegate: You’ve been having a good time today?
Ben Affleck: Yeah, could you tell?
Christina Applegate: Yeah. It’s been really good.
Ben Affleck: You like me a little bit better today don’t you? You finally appreciate me.
Christina Applegate: In that one day? Yeah, when I didn’t like you at all?
Ben Affleck: Remember when you didn’t like me that time?
Christina Applegate: I did.
Question: What time was that exactly?
Ben Affleck: What did I do? I did something..
Christina Applegate: No, it wasn’t that. I love you Ben it’s all good.
Question: Now what would your boyfriend say about all this? [Referring to Ben laying on Christine’s lap]
Ben Affleck: She is a married woman, please don’t impune her integrity.
Christina Applegate: He’s like my brother he’s like my big brother.
Ben Affleck: Big brother, you are 43 years old.
Christina Applegate: Fuck you!
Question: So how do you survive Christmas?
Ben Affleck: I’m like a big brother. Go ahead how do you survive Christmas? Answer the question. He asked you a question.
Christina Applegate: How do you survive Christmas? You drink a lot. And drink a lot, right.
Question: Drink a lot and drink a lot.
Christina Applegate: And eat a lot. And a lot of nog.
Question: So James Gandolfini was saying that one of the problems with this movie was that the script that he originally signed on to do kept on changing and that could be very frustrating.
Ben Affleck: I feel it. The scripts yeah that is one of the problems in the nature of Hollywood movies, it is like everyone has their notes and their ideas and they keep changing it and then people want to improvise and then you know. We call it evolving (laughter) but yeah it is hard. It is also especially hard if you are somebody who likes to really memorise their lines really thoroughly as opposed to like, I like to memorise the idea of what I am going to say and then just make it up. But some writers don’t appreciate that.
Christina Applegate: No, they’re very precious.
Ben Affleck: They are, fuck ’em.
Christina Applegate: But we had – it didn’t matter. I don’t even know who wrote it originally.
Question: Did it get written – it got written by somebody though right?
Ben Affleck: There are six names on it.
Christina Applegate: And Ben wrote some of it too.
Question: You should know. I mean when you do that kind of work with someone else?
Ben Affleck: No fuck other writers. My writing is sacred. Other people’s is dull. No If you had a Tom Stoppard script you would be wise not to try improvising much, you know you just like speak the words as they are written precisely. But if you have a Dog Shit script or even something that is decent but requires some fixing then you just do that, you know you improvise a little bit and if you are as lucky enough to work with. It is the same reason why most beautiful women aren’t funny cause they don’t have to be. I can go to the grocery store, and the most beautiful women don’t have to be funny they can just be beautiful and people pay attention to them, which is why we are a blast and gifted here with Christina. When you have somebody like that you can choose some improvising, [to Christina] I am trying to help you cause you looked funny. But Christina and I rift on some scenes.
Christina Applegate: Yeah, we had a good time with that. And Benny’s a funny guy; you’re a funny dude.
Ben Affleck: Very kind of you to say.
Question: While we are expanding on the theory does this mean that you are looking at a girl or man. Would it be one of the most important qualities you admire?
Ben Affleck: If it is a comedy!
Question: No, no I mean personally in life.
Christina Applegate: In life? I think anyone.
Ben Affleck: I mean Sean Penn not that funny but great actor.
Question: You’ve heard of the Team America thing right?
Christina Applegate: He was in Sad Fast Times at Ridgemont High and he was really funny.
Question: You haven’t seen Team America yet?
Ben Affleck: There is that whole song about how bad..
Question: There is a whole song about you in that movie.
Ben Affleck: Yeah I ran into those guys at a party and they were like, ‘you don’t mind if we make fun of you?’ and I said, ‘no I don’t really care’ but you know I would sort of be more insulted if it were coming from the masters that brought us Baseketball, you know what I mean, it’s like there are good guys and there are funny guys but they were like…
Christina Applegate: Don’t rag on Baseketball now.
Ben Affleck: You can’t be in your own movies it has to be puppets. So you know it is funny as a song it is funny!
Question: You do seem to be able to poke fun at yourself, Ben?
Ben Affleck: Yes, I have a good sense of humour about that kind of thing because if you don’t you will hang yourself.
Christina Applegate: I think it’s important for you to be able to focus on yourself Ben?
Ben Affleck: Thank you.
Christina Applegate: That’s not a general thing for people, just for you Ben.
Ben Affleck: Although is that whole movie funny? [Team America]
Question: I thought it was very funny, and the puppet sex scene is one of the funniest you’ve ever seen.
Ben Affleck: Puppet sex that is funny right there.
Question: What’s the weirdest Christmas you’ve had?
Christina Applegate: The weirdest Christmas? I don’t know. Christmas is a weird period don’t you think. It’s a bizarre holiday. I don’t know. I haven’t had any weird Christmases. Ben?
Ben Affleck: Seems like you don’t want to answer any questions, you’re making me answer them. Ahh I don’t have any weird Christmases although I mean the most unusual Christmas I had was probably last year, which I spent in the Middle East, that was definitely and unusual Christmas being there with all the soldiers and you know in the Middle East it was strange. I mean and shocking that you know how grand a form of service that really is to be in war time in the military and what different cultures, what that culture was like and how hard that kind of life is to be working 12 hour shifts on Christmas afraid you might get blown up I mean that’s at like fifty cents an hour I mean that is kind of no joke.
Christina Applegate: When did you find out when there was no Santa Claus? Do you remember what year that was? That was last year wasn’t it Mr Affleck?
Ben Affleck: There is no Santa Claus? (laughter). You set me up. When did I find out.. I did at one time believe in Santa because I do remember asking my mother, like how did Santa know. That’s what really freaked me out, was like how he would know. How did he know that that’s just what I wanted? I think it disturbed me more than anything else. It gave me like a weird 1984 feeling, like Big Brother was watching me and I wasn’t happy with that because I was humping into the bed posts and I hoped Santa didn’t know that.
Question: What was that?
Christina Applegate: He was humping the bedpost and he was hoping that Santa didn’t know that. That’s the worst thing when you find out that there’s no Santa Claus.
Ben Affleck: Not when you hump the bedpost.
Question: When was the last time you humped the bedpost?
Christina Applegate: That too, it’s kind of rough.
Ben Affleck: No, no I moved to the bed.
Question: How did you find out there was no Santa Claus?
Christina Applegate: I was six years old and…
Question: Humping the bed post?
Christina Applegate: Humping the bed post and I went out because I was so excited because the cake had been eaten and the presents were laid out and then I looked on the shelf and there was the same wrapping paper on the shelf that there was on the presents from Santa Claus and I put two and two together and I was pissed.
Question: Did you confront them?
Christina Applegate: I was pissed for the lying, for all the lying all those years.
Christina Applegate: Uh-huh. I was so mad. I was like six years old and I think I was like cursing my mother out like how could you do this and lie to me all these years. It was awful.
Ben Affleck: It was the lies. It’s not the gaff, it’s the cover up, you know what I mean?
Christina Applegate: I know they went through all that effort.
Question: So you think parents shouldn’t actually make their kids believe in Santa Claus?
Christina Applegate: No I think it’s a beautiful thing to believe in Santa Claus. Those were the best Christmases ever, were the ones that you believed in Santa Claus.
Ben Affleck: My early days, I actually did a lot of work as the Easter Bunny so I believe in him.
Question: What was this?
Christina Applegate: You believe in the Easter Bunny?
Ben Affleck: I was the actual Easter Bunny. I had to go around and giving kids fuckin’ chocolate because I was broke. Then I did some tooth fairy work.
Christina Applegate: You did?
Ben Affleck: Yeah.
Christina Applegate: I didn’t know that about you.
Question: Do you ever look back on those days and think things.
Ben Affleck: With humiliation and rage?
Ben Affleck: Yes. No, I romanticised the times that I was broke and desperate because I think in retrospect it was fun, you know what I mean? I was – I don’t know, I just think I had – there were a lot more possibilities and I had a lot less to lose or something, I don’t know. The future was wide open and I didn’t have as many worries and that was kind of fun. But at the time I did actually have a lot of worries, like paying the rent and that wasn’t fun.
Question: What worries you now then? What do you stress over now?
Ben Affleck: Different stuff, you know.
Question: The paparazzi?
Ben Affleck: That doesn’t worry me so much, that’s just what it is you know. What worries me is…
Christina Applegate: Are you worried about premature balding?
Ben Affleck: I am. I worry about premature balding.
Christina Applegate: You’ve got nothing to worry about. Come on, you’re not, you’re good. No, you’re good.
Ben Affleck: I’m good? Thank God.
Christina Applegate: Yeah.
Question: You’ve got a great head of hair.
Ben Affleck: I worry about – I don’t know, I worry about the same normal things that everybody worries about, being what kind of person and that, trying to be a good person and trying not to die and that sort of stuff.
Question: Are you and Damon going to get together and write again, or is this the end of that?
Ben Affleck: I would like to, we would like to but we both just keep working in movies.
Question: So you’re writing project is postponed indefinitely?
Ben Affleck: No, I just adapted a book that I just turned into Paramount by Dennis Lahane, called Gone Baby Gone. I just finished that. I actually have to do another step on it, so it’s not really finished, but I did the second draft so I’m doing that. I’ll definitely write something else with Matt.
Question: What about the acting?
Ben Affleck: I’m doing this movie called Man About Town right now in Vancouver, which is kind of a comedy and it’s a lot of fun. With Rebecca Romjin and Gina Gershon.
Christina Applegate: My God, that’s right, she’s not Stamos any more.
Question: That’s right, she’s unStamed.
Ben Affleck: Yes, she has been de-Stamosed.
Question: And you also did a cameo in Elektra – that was a favour to your girl?
Ben Affleck: I did a cameo. Yes.
Question: Does it entice you to want to back and relive that character?
Ben Affleck: No.
Ben Affleck: I don’t want to do any action movies, I’m tired of it. They’re boring and they’re exhausting and they suck.
Christina Applegate: He just wants to do movies with me.
Ben Affleck: I want to do Christina Applegate or Christina Aguilera – one of the two Christina’s. I want to do comedies, do you know what I mean?
Question: That’s your favourite genre?
Christina Applegate: You should, you’re so good at it.
Ben Affleck: It’s my favourite genre.
Christina Applegate: Did you see him on SNL a couple of weeks ago, he’s very funny.
Question: So if you don’t want to do any more action movies, what kinds of films are you looking for?
Ben Affleck: I would like to do comedies or else do tough roles, like – I’d rather do roles smaller and more interesting roles like the stuff I did in Boiler Room or Dogma or Good Will Hunting.
Question: Is Kevin – are you in touch with Kevin Smith?
Ben Affleck: Yeah, I saw Kevin last night at the premier.
Question: He was upset you didn’t come to the launch of the DVD for Jersey Girl.
Ben Affleck: It wasn’t enough that I went to Vegas to play in his lame charity poker tournament for the DVD launch of Jersey Girl, but I also had to go out to his fucking store where he’s opening a store where all he’s doing is selling more T-shirts of him and his jackass friend and he’s roped in an entire generation of kids into thinking it’s worth spending $30 on and $50 if he signs it. I mean the whole thing is a complete travesty and he wanted me to participate in it and I won’t do that.
Christina Applegate: That’s friendship though.
Ben Affleck: That’s love. It is love, I could feel the love in the room actually.
Question: You were in Celebrity Poker. Was that fun?
Ben Affleck: I played the best, but I lost anyway. It’s going to happen in poker sometimes. I got, what you called, sucked out on which, by the way it sounds you might think is a good thing, but it isn’t, it’s a bad thing. My jokes are just dying.
Question: I thought it was funny.
Christina Applegate: Wooden.
Ben Affleck: What is it about me that makes you want to go to sleep, seriously.
Christina Applegate: No I’m right here, I love you, I’m here.
Question: Tell me how do you keep your relationship out the tabloids as opposed to…
Ben Affleck: Me and Christina, we travel around and we talk about the movie. And we tell them Surviving Christmas. When’s it coming out?
Christina Applegate: October something.
Ben Affleck: Is there a number?
Christina Applegate: October 22nd.
Ben Affleck: 22.
Christina Applegate: A week from today.
Ben Affleck: A week. We’ve got a fuckin’ (laughter)
Question: So you just don’t talk about it any more?
Ben Affleck: I’m not going to talk about my personal life.
Christina Applegate: How do you keep it up, that’s what he asked you.
Ben Affleck: How do I keep it up.
Question: Christina, when is your play opening?
Christina Applegate: It’s opening in April of next year.
Ben Affleck: What’s it about?
Christina Applegate: Sweet Charity.
Ben Affleck: I don’t know what it’s about, I don’t know musical theatre.
Christina Applegate: It’s a Bob Fosse play, musical.
Question: Shirley Maclaine did the original movie.
Ben Affleck: Oh really.
Christina Applegate: Shirley MacLaine did it originally in the movie.
Ben Affleck: What’s it about? What’s the story?
Christina Applegate: It’s about a dance hall hostess and we’re trying to find love.
Ben Affleck: Do you find love? Who’s the man you fall in love with?
Christina Applegate: She finds love within her own self. That’s the moral.
Ben Affleck: But who’s the man she lies down in the bed with?
Christina Applegate: His name’s Oscar and he’s great.
Ben Affleck: Who’s playing him.
Christina Applegate: But he can’t get over the fact that she’s got this other life.
Ben Affleck: Never mind that, who’s playing him?
Christina Applegate: His name is Denis O’Hare.
Ben Affleck: Is he sexy?
Christina Applegate: He’s an awesome actor.
Ben Affleck: Are you attracted to him? I just want to know if there’s going to be chemistry?
Christina Applegate: Are we dating? Yes.
Question: You’re dating too, wow. And how does your husband feel about that?
Christina Applegate: My husband’s totally fine with it.
Ben Affleck: He loves it. Because he’s off the hook.
Question: Are you working on anything at the moment Ben, or not?
Ben Affleck: Yes, I’m doing a move called Man About Town.
Question: With whom?
Ben Affleck: Mike Binder who made one of the best movies I’ve seen in years.
Question: What was that?
Ben Affleck: You have got to see this thing. It’s called The Upside of Anger. Kevin Costner and Joan Allen are in it.
Ben Affleck: Kevin Costner is fucking amazing in this movie. It will blow your mind. It’s the comeback costume movie of all time.
Question: What does he play?
Ben Affleck: He’s fat, he’s like an alcoholic. He goes really bald. He’s fucking like a total disaster guy and what’s-her-name is like a drunk too and it doesn’t sound great but it’s really funny and it’s really good. It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. As soon as you get the opportunity I recommend you guys check it out, The Upside of Anger.
Question: And who do you play in the film that you’re shooting?
Ben Affleck: Who I play, is I play a literary agent who – I play a guy who finds out that his wife had an affair with his client and tries to forgive her and see if he can forgive her or not. Would you forgive you wife if she fooled around?
See. Most men say no and that’s what it’s an interesting story that you haven’t seen before. It’s like most women deal with it and most men just think couldn’t do it.