Ben Affleck Felt Matt Damon Was Wanted More by Hollywood After ‘Good Will Hunting’

Ben Affleck’s friendship with Matt Damon has been a part of what’s made their success in Hollywood intriguing to some. But there was a point where Affleck felt he might’ve been caught in Damon’s shadow.

How Ben Affleck felt about Matt Damon’s growing popularity after ‘Good Will Hunting’

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon attend the red carpet of the movie "The Last Duel".
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon | Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Affleck and Damon worked hard together on the film that would make each other famous. According to Damon, it started off as a paper he submitted to his Harvard professor. Then he brought it to Affleck so the pair could help the script reach its full potential.

“Matt said, ‘Look, will you help me write this? I’m not sure what it is or where to go.’ So we started writing it sort of back and forth,” Affleck once said in an interview with Boston.

The script for Good Will Hunting started out very ambitious, and was written as an action thriller. Soon, however, they were told to cut down the action parts of the script, and focus more on the drama aspect. The result was an Oscar-winning screenplay that saw both Damon and Affleck win awards and become A-listers.

But their rise to the top wasn’t exactly the same at first. Affleck confided that Damon was considered the more desirable star out of the two.

“Matt was more sought after,” Affleck once told Entertainment Weekly (via Irish Examiner). “When Good Will Hunting broke, it was all about Matt. I’ve always felt like I’ve been in a perpetual audition.”

Affleck realized that the movie affected some of the audience’s perception of him as well. In a resurfaced interview with GQ, he recalled talking to someone who initially didn’t think Affleck was too bright.

“Like ’Here’s the lovable dim friend who’s along for the ride’ or something,” Affleck remembered feeling at the time. “And Matt was a math genius! I didn’t even realize it for a long time, because it was such a positive experience. It was only two years later I had a conversation with a girl in the business, she said something along the lines of, ’I thought you were the dim-witted friend—you’re pretty bright.’ I was shocked. I had this moment of profound reflection: ‘Does everybody think this about me?’”

Why Ben Affleck and Matt Damon finally started working together again years after ‘Good Will Hunting’

Affleck and Damon remained friends throughout their careers, but they seldom wrote together the same way they did in Good Will Hunting. There were a few collaborations they did here and there such as in films like Dogma and Jay & Silent Bob. But they didn’t headline their own feature film until 2016’s The Last Duel came along. The pair reunited again recently for Air, a feature about Michael Jordan and his brand Air Jordans.

In a separate interview with Boston, Damon and Affleck addressed why they were finally working together in their older years.

“I love Matt, he’s my best friend, and we just looked at each other at one point and said, ‘Why in the world are we not doing more stuff together,’” Affleck said. “We’re old enough now to look back at 25 years and go, well, who you spend your time with at work turns out to make up a very big part of the quality of your life. If you’re really lucky, you love what you do and you love who you work with, ‘ya nevah work anothah day in ya life!’”

Affleck further asserted that he’s been more careful about who he works with after starting a family.

“I mean, that’s the whole thing. Like, that’s my life switch here,” Affleck said. “It’s both creating time for my family and my children. So I don’t want to travel. I can’t go to New Orleans for three months or Austin for three months. I don’t want to do that anymore, with half-custody … I feel like I’m losing half the time. Breaks my heart. I can’t do it anymore. It doesn’t matter what it comes against. Whatever the other thing is, that’s gonna lose. You can [expletive] keep it.”

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