But this is exactly how Mr. Affleck insists he wants it. “I have no desire to be famous at all,” he wrote by email after our chat. Given his comparably less lustrous career, this might be a defensive crouch. But Mr. Damon, one of the producers of “Manchester by the Sea,” said that Mr. Affleck had long coveted privacy, especially after witnessing the relentless scrutiny aimed at Ben.
"He’s leery about putting himself out there too much, and he also saw what his brother and I were going through 20 years ago,” Mr. Damon said. “He’s also somebody who’s somewhat humble and doesn’t like to talk about himself that much or as much as other actors do.”
This aversion to publicity has complicated Mr. Affleck’s career. He has lost jobs that directors wanted him for, he said, because the business-side people felt he lacked enough exposure. He is also exceedingly picky about roles. Mr. Damon said he has spent hours on the phone as Mr. Affleck obsessed about whether to take a part. Whatever side Mr. Damon took, he said, Mr. Affleck would argue. “He always errs on the side of the caution until he runs out of money and takes whatever he has to take,” Mr. Damon said. "He agonizes over these decisions because he’s got a lot of integrity. Way more than either his brother or me."