The Success of the Affleck Brothers

Photo Credit: Miramax Pictures
May 1st, 2012

The Success of the Affleck Brothers

--Ben Affleck started his career as a young boy with a role in a PBS series. After the series finished, he had problems landing other roles. Many of his early parts were nonspeaking roles, including a cameo in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Despite his lack of success, he still struggled to work as an actor. In the mid-1990s, he met director Kevin Smith. Smith cast him in a small role in his movie "Mallrats." The two them worked together on "Chasing Amy," which led to Affleck sleeping on
Smith's couch for a short period.

While working on "Chasing Amy," Affleck mentioned to Smith that he and his friend Matt Damon wanted to write a screenplay. Smith jokes that Affleck kept changing his lines in the movie, and Smith finally told him to go off and write his own movie. Affleck and Damon wrote and starred in "Good Will Hunting," which won the Oscar that year for Best Original Screenplay.

Seeing the success of his older brother, Casey Affleck decided to try Hollywood. His first major role came in the film "To Die For," which also starred Nicole Kidman. Kidman played a woman who convinced three young men to kill her husband. The movie was a box-office success, and it helped launch Casey's career.

Despite having similar backgrounds, the two brothers share little in common when it comes to movies. Ben jumped from blockbuster movies to independent films, and he admits that he sometimes took a role because of the money involved. After "Good Will Hunting," he appeared in "Shakespeare in Love" but followed that with several roles in action movies. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, he starred in "Armageddon," "Reindeer Games," "Pearl Harbor," and "The Sum of All Fears." He also made his name as a romantic lead with roles in "Forces of Nature," "Bounce," and "Jersey Girl."

During the filming of "Gigli," Ben became better known for his social life than his acting career. He started dating costar Jennifer Lopez, and gossip magazines referred to the couple as "Benifer." After Ben proposed, the two started work on "Jersey Girl." The relationship eventually unraveled, and "Jersey Girl" director Kevin Smith cut much of Lopez's scenes from the final movie.

Ben's movie career slowly started fading. "Gigli" was a box-office flop that earned him a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor. Several of his other movies failed at the box office as well, including "Paycheck" and "Surviving Christmas." He took a short break from acting, taking only small roles in movies. He later became a director, and his movie "Gone Baby Gone" starred his younger brother Casey.

Casey had a career unlike his brother's because he took roles that interested him on a personal level. The brothers worked together in several movies, including "200 Cigarettes," "Good Will Hunting," and "Chasing Amy." Casey appeared in the comedy "American Pie," and he later returned for "American Pie 2."

After roles in several independent movies, Casey found success with "Ocean's Eleven." This was his first role in an action movie, and he came back for the two sequels: "Ocean's Twelve" and "Ocean's Thirteen." Casey showed his acting chops in the movies, starring alongside the likes of Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, and George Clooney. Since then, Casey has continued to alternate between comedy roles and dramatic roles. Some of his more recent films included "The Killer Inside Me," "Tower Heist," and "I'm Still Here."

While Ben dated actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez, Casey quietly began a relationship with Summer Phoenix. Casey met her older brother Joaquin when the two worked on "To Die For." Joaquin introduced the two in 2000, and they dated for several years before they finally married in 2006. The couple is parents to Indiana and Atticus. Ben met actress Jennifer Garner when the two worked on "Daredevil," but both were in relationships with other people. The two later dated and got married. They now have two daughters and a son together.

The two brothers also share an interest in charitable work. Casey works with charities that help animals, including Farm Sanctuary and PETA. He lives a vegan lifestyle and enjoys working with charities that promote healthy living and those that focus on the protection of animals. Ben prefers charities aimed at children. He works with A-T Children's Project, which offers support for families and children with a rare genetic disorder. He also formed the Eastern Congo Initiative, which helps people living in the Congo.

While the two Affleck brothers have chosen significantly different acting roles, they do share a few things in common. They both believe in helping the less fortunate, and both remain devoted to their families.