Monday, November 06, 2006

Affleck "humiliated" by last successful role?

From IGN:

"In a report that has been picked up by various European news outlets, Affleck told the press at the London premiere of his new film Hollywoodland, "By playing a superhero in Daredevil, I have inoculated myself from ever playing another superhero. ... Wearing a costume was a source of humiliation for me and something I wouldn't want to do again soon." "

It's helpful to remember that, in context, Affleck is offering these thoughts in relation to his most-recent boxoffice dud, "Hollywoodland," in which he plays doomed TV "Superman" George Reeves. However, myself and IGN can't be the only ones who find it kind of, well... "huh?" that Affleck is this regretful over appearing in a not-great superhero flick when he's done so much worse elsewhere. "Gigli?" "Survivng Christmas?" "Jersey Girl?" "Paycheck?" Let's get real here: Wearing Daredevil's horns didn't kill this man's career, wearing Jennifer Lopez's leash did.

Part of this goes to (at least partially) illuminating just why "Hollywoodland" eventually didn't work despite decent-enough acting from all involved. The film failed, ultimately, to address the central irony of Reeves' tragedy: The irony that his Superman performance, even if he never took it very seriously... his embodiment of the icon so captivated the audience that it eventually consumed him. It approached the material with the tired, old-guard, "serious actors beware!!!" elitist skew that Reeves was degraded by "Superman's" silliness, when it now strikes me that he was more-accurately eclipsed by "Superman's" pop-culture godhood.

Even taking Affleck at his word here, it's likely that the specific dwelling on "Daredevil" as a source of scorn is very much intentional: The same old-guard that still makes the rules on the "high-art/low-art" division also march in lockstep to the "Hollywoodland" vision of such material. Every scrap of dwindling hope they can get that the Geek Age of Cinema isn't here to stay is ambrosia to them, and this sort of quip coming from an actor is usually designed to appeal to them so that "______ is back to making real films again!" becomes part of the reviews.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is another possibility beyond the 'Hollywood hates Geeks' alternative as to why Affleck would make a comment like that.

It is important to preface it by noting Affleck didn't bring up Daredevil as a source of humiliation out of the blue. He was promoting Hollywoodland and was asked by a reporter whether he would play a superhero again. He's not simply skipping Gigli and Surviving Christmas to pinpoint Daredevil as his personal embarrassment: he was specifically asked about superhero movies. He's made plenty of jokes about Gigli as well.

And the other key thing is this: while Daredevil was a success, many critics and most fans, yourself included were full of criticism about how terrible and miscast he was in the role. In the face of such vitriolic scorn, how should he feel? He was very positive about it at the time and lord knows playing a superhero hasn't tarnished Hugh Jackman or Tobey Maguire's careers. Isn't it conceivable his embarrassment at the role might just maybe possible stem from the fact that everyone told him they hated him in it? Isn't that more of a possibility than a vast anti-geek conspiracy about Hollywood, a town that has seen huge profits (and good reviews) from movies like King Kong and Spider-man?