Happy birthday! The last time I saw you at the Contagion premiere, your head was shaved, but that was for Elysium. Reshoots?
I shaved it again this morning. There are two extra days of shooting that we have to do next week, and not to bore you with this, but I had to shave it because I have to do a wig fitting. I'm going to do three days with Terry Gilliam, and now that I have to shave my head, I need to do a wig for Terry's movie.
You're doing The Zero Theorem?
I'm just doing a very small part in it. Someone finally gave him money to do this one, thank God. It's with Christoph Waltz and Tilda Swinton. I'd do anything for Terry. It's been ten years since I last worked with him...
How do you think [Argo] compares to Elysium?
Hopefully Elysium is a really unique and nonderivative, exciting, futuristic action-science-fiction movie. The thing about making movies, you always feel you're one step away from making Argo, the movie within the movie. What is much rarer is when you make Argo. That doesn't happen very often, and it only happens when there is a great director and a lot of really wonderful people who do their best work and make it happen together. I'm so proud of Ben. We don't get a chance to see each other a lot, but we'll get a minute somewhere in here to catch up.
For Promised Land, you were going to direct, but you handed it over to Gus Van Sant. Is that a load off?
In terms of things like Promised Land, there's a huge buy-in there, because we wrote it, John [Krasinski] and I are starring in it and producing it as well, so it doesn't feel like less of a commitment. It feels like more of one...
Since you play his lover, did you have any interesting love scenes with Michael [Douglas]?
A lot of interesting love scenes with him, yeah! [Grins.] But you know, look: We knew what movie we signed up for, and it's a really interesting, the dynamic between the two characters, and a lot like a marriage. So we had a lot of experience, both of us, in that regard, so it's really unique, just the power dynamic between them and the craziness of their lives. I mean, he was the biggest performer in the world, and what that did to their dynamic, and at the same time, they're like an old married couple. There are fights, you know, because they battled endlessly, because Scott had a drug problem and they really fell out in large part because of that. And it had a really tragic end there. I've never seen a relationship like that portrayed before, so hopefully people will like it. I'm really proud of it. I think it's really interesting! Maybe people will disagree, but I'm really proud of it.
Also there was friend of Ben (and joint Oscar winner for "Good Will Hunting") Matt Damon, with a freshly shaven head. He's going back into two days of reshoots for the futuristic sci-fi film "Elysium" -- and that required a few more bald-hair days. Clooney couldn't resist the temptation to get the feel of the new-mown scalp, rubbing his hand up and down Damon's head and commenting that it was smooth one way and stubbly the other. Show and tell over, Damon mentioned that he was looking forward to the release of the small-town drama "Promised Land," which he co-wrote with John Krasinski from a Dave Eggers story. The pair co-star with Frances McDormand, and Gus Van Sant directs for a December 28 limited release.
I have to agree with Ben’s great friend, Matt Damon. He was there at the screening all evening to give Affleck support. He said, "'Argo' is the greatest thing he’s done yet." (Matt’s head was shaved, again. He scraped it off for "Elysium," but just as it was growing back, he was needed for retakes. "Oh, it's only hair!" said Matt, good-naturedly.)
When he's not with his family, he's at home working in a "sort of little office hut" or developing material through Pearl Street Productions, the Warners-based company he runs with Damon, who has remained a lodestar throughout the ups and downs and who now lives down the street from him. "We see each other almost too often," laughs Affleck. "I wonder if his wife is thinking, 'Is he really going to come over every night?'"