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Thu October 11, 2012
Directing 101 with Ben Affleck
Boston-native Ben Affleck has a history of creating powerful films, from "Good Will Hunting" to "Gone Baby Gone." But while Affleck's films are fan-favorites, the method behind them is less familiar. Recently, Jared Bowen got the chance to ask Affleck about his filmmaking philosophy and the process behind his new film, "Argo." So what's in the making of a Ben Affleck movie? His answers may surprise you.
I sort of have my own criterion for what I want to do with the movie and develop it, and sometimes it's in sync with kind of what people in general see and sometimes there's just a piece or two that I want to make sure that I get. I wanted people to come out of “Gone Baby Gone,” genuinely arguing and not presenting one truth, for example. I felt successful for the most part in that, although there were many, many other things just filmically and execution-wise that I don't feel that I presented.
So I have these goals. For example, in [“Argo”] I really wanted to make the tones work together fluidly.
On Scaring up Suspense
I think the way of accomplishing stress [or] anxiety in an audience has to do with...setting up things that the audience knows that the characters don't know. It always has a sort of good tension to it.
And making sure that it's grounded. Like, I think, at least for me, I check out of a movie when I start thinking, "this isn't real." Or "this is a video game. I could just put another quarter in and have another life. Press start on the XBox again." So, keeping it really grounded and then making sure that you get performances where the actors aren't pushing facial expressions and overacting, where they really internalize some of that anxiety. So, basically, hire good actors.
On Creating Comedy
I think humor is really critical to tension. You can't hold it in the whole time. Other people's sort of face turns blue, and they get tired, and then the mind wants to stop. If you give these sort of release valves, it gives you arcs that you can use. You build the tension — they let it. Also, humor is vital. There's gallows humor. It's how we connect with one another as people. It's the only sort of piece of psychology that isn't necessary to our survival but it's somehow so present and so much a part of what's great about our lives. And it is a tool that we use to reduce our anxiety.
Watch the full interview tonight at 7 on Greater Boston.
BOSTON PUBLIC RADIO
BOSTON PUBLIC RADIO