Ben Affleck stopped by the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Monday to promote his ‘Project Greenlight’ movie ‘The Battle of Shaker Heights’, though he mainly talked about the dismal failure of his latest movie ‘Gigli’ with Jennifer Lopez and reports that had him at a strip club in Canada. Ben read off some of the worst reviews ‘Gigli’ got and conceded that because of the strip club incident, he won’t be able to have a bachelor party. Read on for a rough transcript.
Jay: See what that is. All right. Let’s get right to it. My first guest has become one of the most successful and versatile actors around. Some of his movies include “the sum of all fears” and “Daredevil.” There’s one I’m forgetting.
[ Laughter ] All right. He’s here tonight to talk about “Project Greenlight.” The movie’s “the battle of shaker heights.” It opens in new york and Los Angeles august 22nd. Please welcome our good buddy, Ben Affleck, ladies and gentlemen.
[ Cheers and applause ]
[ Cheers and applause ] I don’t —
Ben: Very exciting.
Jay: Keeping kind of a low profile lately, huh?
Jay: Trying to keep below the radar?
Ben: Yeah, trying to keep — actually, you know, I kinda am. I don’t know what to tell you. It’s become — I can’t explain it. I’m bored by it. I hate seeing myself on the cover of the magazines. I’m sure everybody else is.
[ Screams from the audience ]
Ben: There you go.
Jay: I love it ’cause I get material, but what I’m asking —
Ben: It’s nice to keep you employed.
Jay: What’s the most — you see, once in a while, like, they’ll take my picture and I’m driving, like, in the car or something, but it’s not bad. So all the relatives go, “oh, I saw you in the magazine.”
Ben: Right, right.
Jay: But you get it all the time. What is the most intrusive?
Ben: I mean, lately, it’s gotten a little bit out of control. For example, I was up in — actually up in Winnipeg. ‘Cause Jennifer was just shooting a movie, and I’m on my time off. And I was getting out of the shower, in the bathroom, you know. And I got out of the shower, and Jen was in the bathroom. We were rushing, I was trying to — you know, I’m keeping her behind trying to get to work. And I get out of the shower, I look out the bathroom window — I swear on my life, this is a true story. There are three guys not a foot outside the bathroom window with cameras, taking pictures. Buck-naked, standing there.
[ Screams from the audience ] Yeah, you can expect to see that on the internet shortly.
Jay: Why would the photographers be buck-naked standing there?
Ben: I thought it was serious, too.
Jay: Now, what do you do in a case like that? You can’t shoo them away.
Ben: You know, I mean, you kind of — it’s so amazing to me. It’s like, being on these magazines it baffles me. I think, “is this news?” What, is the world gone insane? You know what I mean? “Guys, I’m about to, like, you know, I’m going number two, do you mind? Can I have a minute?” Is there a line? Now, what have you been up to?
Ben: Well, I don’t know if you know about this, I have a film.
Jay: Has “Gigli” opened?
Ben: Yes, it has opened. Funnily enough. Thumbs up, thank you.
[ Cheers and applause ] It’s interesting, ’cause I wasn’t paying attention to the beginning of the show, but I — there’s this common misconception out there that the movie didn’t somehow do well or wasn’t well received. People think that, jay.
Ben: Yes, they do. I know it seems crazy to you and Kevin.
Ben: Kevin: No, man.
Ben: Yeah, I see you. I wanted to just, kind of, set aside some of these misconceptions and read some of the love that I’ve gotten from — these are the press corps of America, the reviews for the movie. Oftentimes, they’ll put them in the advertisements, and I’m gonna go ahead and plug the movie now ’cause it is still out.
[ Laughter ] So I’d like you to hear —
Jay: These are actual reviews
Ben: These are actual reviews that I culled, because I, you know, pay attention to these things, for the movie. So I’m gonna read these and you let me know if you think it sounds like something you want to see. “Such an utter wreck of a movie, you expect to see it lying on its side somewhere in rural Pennsylvania with a small gang of engineers circling and a wisp of smoke rising from the caboose.”
[ Laughter ] Hold on, hold on. That was a mistake. I didn’t mean to pull that one. “Speculating that the $3.8 million ‘Gigli’ earned at the box office came from the purchase of two $1.9 million tickets purchased by Ben and Jen.”
[ Laughter ] I want to give credit where credit’s due. “A black hole –” “‘Gigli,’ a black hole that sucks reputations, careers and goodwill down its vortex.”
[ Laughter ] “‘Gigli’ is so horrible, I had to go clean my palate afterward by watching ‘Glitter.'”
[ Laughter ]
Ben: You don’t see that every day. Not finished. “A bigger mess than the Exxon Valdez, ‘Gigli’ will –” this is true. I couldn’t make this up. “‘Gigli’ will appeal to celebrity gawkers and the certifiably insane.”
[ Laughter ] If that’s not an endorsement, I mean — “save $10 and your dignity. ‘Gigli’ is at war with itself, and no one wins.”
[ Light laughter ] The second to last one is “Affleck and Lopez are so taken with each other they don’t need an audience. Good thing, ’cause they’re not gonna get one. Not with this stinker.” My favorite, my favorite review though, the best one I have to say — that was Peter Travers of Rolling Stone. Very nice. Touche. Was the “New York Times” ran a headline after the box office was less than we’d hoped. The headline was “Ben and Jennifer finally get some privacy.”
[ Cheers and applause ]
Jay: Let’s take a break.
Ben: So thank you.
Jay: Thank you. Now, when we come back — now, I gotta ask you about this strip club story. We’ll talk about that when we come back.
Ben: I bet you do, Jay. I bet you do.
Jay: And is the wedding still on? We’ll find out. Well find out. More with Ben right after this.
[ Cheers and applause ]
Jay: All right. We’re talking with Ben Affleck, star of “I went to a strip club.” Is that the name of it?
Ben: Yeah. That was the name of the movie.
Jay: You know, I keep hearing all these rumors.
Ben: That’s what amazes — you know how many times I’ve been to strip clubs? I mean — not that many, mind you.
[ Light laughter ] It never occurred to me that it was news. You know? It’s sort of amazing. It’s actually a funny story.
[ Light laughter ] Basically, you know, I’m up there — and I’m a young guy, and I’m getting married soon, as you may have heard.
Jay: I heard, yeah.
Ben: And I have some friends. And they said, “you know, we should go out, do, like, a little mini bachelor party.” I said, “oh, I don’t know, my friends in boston are planning one.” They said, “come on, we’ll go out to one of these, you know —
Jay: So you were duped into it.
Ben: Well, they told me it was a christian youth gathering.
[ Light laughter ] That’s what I thought initially going in, then when I got there —
Jay: Of course.
Ben: But I did have the common sense to call Jennifer and say, “hey, you know, I’m gonna go to this place. And it’s kind of wacky.”
Jay: Wait a minute, you said, “I’m going to this place, and it’s kind of wacky”?
Ben: Something along those lines, yeah. I mean, no, I said, “it’s a strip club.” You know. And she’s actually — Jennifer’s very secure and cool. She was like, “all right. Go and have a good time. You know, knock yourself out.”
Jay: She’s cool with that.
Ben: Very secure. Very secure.
Jay: But she was cool with that?
Ben: She said she was.
[ Light laughter ] I don’t — see, I can’t do that thing — say “yes, no” mind read thing.
Jay: From a man who’s been married 23 years, if they say they’re cool with it they’re not cool with it.
[ Light laughter ] But if she’s cool with it, let’s agree, she’s cool.
Ben: She’s cool with it, so I go there. And it was — it was actually relatively — it would have been, like, you know, like, it would have been, like, a brunch for Colin Farrell.
[ Laughter ] You know what I’m saying? It was like that.
Jay: Yeah, put it over on Colin.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. Colin’s a bad guy. Do you know him? So I go there and it’s relatively — but by the time the tabloids get a hold of it, I’m, like, in a three-way with Michael Jackson and Elvis and the Wolfman, you know? But, it was relatively tame, as those things are. And then I get back, and then it’s, “oh, well, they’re gonna –” you know, it’s not like I thought people were gonna notice me. But they said, “well, they’re going to run the story about it.” So I called Jen. I said, “you know, they’re going to run a story about me being in a –“
Ben: You know, I told her. She said, “well, looks like you had your bachelor party.”
[ Audience ohs ] I was like, “yeah, I — well, you, er-r-R.” So then I had to make the second call, to my friends in Boston.
Ben: Yeah, I said, “guys, I don’t think — I don’t think the bachelor party’s gonna happen.” He’s like, “what do you mean?” I was like, “Bubba, I can’t do it.” He’s like, why not?” I said, “because I kinda already had the bachelor party.” And he was like, “what am I going to do with all this livestock?”
[ Laughter ] “What were we gonna do with it?” “I figured you needed a couple of chickens.” “No. I’m in good shape.” So, that was my weekend.
Jay: So that was your weekend.
Ben: Yeah. Newsworthy.
Jay: Yeah. ‘Cause this scandal, I remember you said to me —
Jay: Well, it was — not the scandal, but the whole thing, the movie,
the stripper, it was like, what did you call it?
Ben: Well, it’s kind of like there’s a — it was really a confluence of different factors that happened with the movie.
Jay: Confluence of different factors.
Ben: Yes. I realize what it is. It’s basically that there was bad buzz on the movie to begin with, right?
Ben: And then this whole, like, kind of diarrhea of publicity about me and Jen all the time.
Jay: A diarrhea of publicity.
[ Laughter ]
Ben: It’s like, you know, you just get splashed with it.
[ Laughter ]
Jay: I got — I got the image.
Ben: I wanted to drive it home. And the first thing was the fact that the movie wasn’t that good.
Ben: So I realized what it was, it was “the perfect storm.”
Jay: “The perfect storm.”
Ben: Yeah, I felt like the Clooney character at the end of the movie, when he looks over and sees a big wave, like, “rr-r-R.” Turned into a slam dunk contest for critics. So, you need your cars washed?
Jay: But you’re a good sport. ‘Cause, I mean, I know people that, literally, will t come out of their — you know, they get a bad review, and they don’t come out of their house. I mean, I can’t believe —
Ben: I mean, you know. Sometimes the movies are good, sometimes they’re not. You can’t get obsessed with everybody loving you all the time. You know. I don’t know about, like, somebody said it gave them eye cancer. I wouldn’t go that far.
[ Laughter ] The movie wasn’t that good! You know what I mean?
Jay: And, you know, a lot of those strippers are college girls working their way through Ph.D’s.
Ben: Well, I’m trying to, yeah — stimulate the economy.
Jay: Now, tell us about — about “Project Greenlight.” ‘Cause this is really a cool thing. Is this the second or third year?
Ben: “Project Greenlight” — it’s is the second year. And we have — the movie’s coming out. And it’s called the “Battle of Shaker Heights.” It’s really very, very good. You should see it. Excellent. That’ll be out in, like, L.A., New york, and it’ll expand to the top ten markets. I don’t know what those are, exactly, but —
Jay: Yeah, but, I mean, for people that don’t know, you’re giving a break — is it young filmmakers, you give them, what, $1 million? Is that what it is? Something like that?
Ben: Yeah. They get between $1 million and $2 million. ‘Cause they’re unknown filmmakers, and they get — there’s a contest over the internet. And if you win that, we pick the writer and t director, and, you know, they were, landscaping, doing whatever. And they got the chance to make a movie, and here’s a clip from the show, which documents making the movie. This is a show about making the movie. This is us picking the winner, I think, or calling them.
[ Phone ringing ]
Ben: This is Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Chris moo calling.
Ben: No, it’s not.
Ben: Yeah, it is.
Ben: Oh, my god, if this is somebody else, I’m gonna kill you if I find out that it’s —
Ben: No, no, this is us, man, seriously.
Ben: I promise.
Ben: All right, now. If it’s really you, tell me. ‘Cause either this is the coolest thing or the cruelest thing.
Ben: Ask me anything about Matt Damon, I know, I know everything about him.
Ben: Doesn’t waste your time asking questions about me, you have the sexiest man alive on the phone right now.
Ben: I wasn’t even this excited when I lost my virginity.
[ Laughter ]
Ben: Oh, so you’ve already met Ben.
[ Cheers and applause ]
Jay: So, it’s “The Battle of Shaker Heights”?
Ben: “Battle of shaker heights,” coming out august —
Jay: August 22nd.
Jay: 22nd. Try and go see it. Thanks for being a good sport, Ben.
[ Cheers and applause ]
Ben: Thank you very much.