Even after directing three films and winning the DGA and PGA awards for “Argo,” Ben Affleck remains relentlessly self-deprecating.
“I still don’t feel ready to be a director,” he admitted at Wednesday’s “Director’s Close-Up” event at the Landmark at the Westside Pavilion. “I have this continuing churn of anxiety.”
The event was the second in a weekly series organized by Film Independent. Moderator Robin Swicord opened the 90-minute session by telling the audience that she was thrilled to meet Affleck backstage because he was far taller than many other well-known actors she’s met.
“That’s what I’ve got going for me,” Affleck responded to big laughs.
He said later, “I refused to be one of those directors who immediately falls in love with his own work.”
The event featured clips from each of the director’s films — “Gone Baby Gone,” “The Town” and “Argo.” Affleck admitted that he wasn’t pleased over the pacing of a scene with Morgan Freeman and Affleck’s brother Casey in the first — “there are a lot of things I wish I had done differently” — and gave credit to editor William Goldenberg for improving the film in the editing room.
Affleck also said he was particularly proud of the film’s final eight minutes, especially since many films fall short in that area for audiences.
He said Wednesday that he’s obsessive about authenticity of character behavior, which is what makes the action sequences in “The Town” believable for audiences. “Your heart is racing because you believe these guys are actually the ones doing the crashes,” he added.
As for “Argo,” Affleck said he was thankful for his decision to ensconce the actors portraying the escaped U.S. employees in a Hancock Park house for several weeks prior to shooting. “I wanted them to feel like it was their house,” he added.
Affleck also expressed happiness over finding a large community of Persian actors to portray the Iranian revolutionaries in the airport scene, shot at the Ontario Airport. Many of them, he noted, were familiar with the Tehran airport.
“One of them told me, ‘The real tile is not this way,'” he added.