"I meet people, but I feel like I'm this walking nightmare. It's too much. Who wants that' If I saw me, I would turn the other way. I'm trying to diminish it so that someone might actually be interested in dating me." -- BEN AFFLECK on dating someone like him -- a paparazzi favorite.
"BECAUSE of Bush's tax cuts, I saved a million and a half in taxes last year. Does anyone think that's fair?" — Ben Affleck at a John Kerry fund-raiser.
"Sometimes it's Britney Spears, and sometimes it's Carrie Fisher. I can't tell if I have a Lolita Complex or an Oedipus Complex." - about the celebrity women the tabloids falsely link him to.
"I feel like fame is wasted on me."
TO tell the truth, this movie inspires me to be a father as much as 'Armageddon' inspired me to become an oil-rigger / astronaut! It's a great role, but it's just a role." So says Ben Affleck in response to the unimaginative question, does his role as a doting dad in his new film "Jersey Girl" lead him to thoughts of diapers and domesticity?
[on the celebrity women the tabloids falsely link him to] Sometimes it's Britney Spears, and sometimes it's Carrie Fisher. I can't tell if I have a Lolita complex or an Oedipus complex.
[on tabloid coverage of his life] It feels like being in a soap opera that you were unwittingly cast in and you have no choice about it. I get to watch my life like everyone else and think. "I can't believe they did that". And, for whatever reason, you become less special for movie audiences. It cheapens the brand if you want to look at it in a really crass sense. But I figure it has to go away at some point. Eventually someone will come along and have a sex tape or someone will play grab-ass with some kids and I'll be off page one.
[answering a Chris Matthews question about why Hollywood actors sometimes presume to be sophisticated about politics] Everyone's entitled to express their political beliefs. I don't presume to tell anybody who to vote for. I am comfortable telling people what my opinions are. But you have to look also to the media, where you have a vast majority of the loudest and most influential political voices in America media from people who came from the entertainment world. You have Rush Limbaugh, was a radio disc jockey. Bill O'Reilly came from "Inside Edition" (1988). Michael Moore's a filmmaker. Al Franken was on "Saturday Night Live" (1975). The line is increasingly blurred between news and entertainment. Secondarily, the media's also shoving celebrities down our throats all the time. As a person, I'm much more interested in what an actor has to say about something substantial and important than who they're dating or what clothes they're wearing or some other asinine, insignificant aspect of their life.
[when asked by Chris Matthews if what thought about Whoopi Goldberg's remarks at a John Kerry fundraiser that resulted in her being fired as a spokesman for SlimFast] I wasn't there. I went to the Los Angeles fundraiser. I wasn't in the one in New York. I think when you have somebody -- you know, if you did a rock concert that was a benefit and The Who played their music or The Rolling Stones, you'd expect to get, you know, "Satisfaction" or "My Generation." When you hire Whoopi Goldberg, you're going to get her brand of humor. And I think there is a fine line, and you have to be a little bit mindful. And I, for one, am not going to do any scatological jokes or puns about the president's last name on your show, mostly for that reason. But I also think I expect a different code of behavior maybe from comedians who have made a career with a certain kind of comedy than I do from, oh, say, the Vice President of the United States [referring to Vice President [Dick Cheney, who told Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy to "Go fuck yourself" on the floor of the Senate], who used this vulgar language, you know, to a senator and was sort of unapologetic about it. So I think the Republicans hitting her [Whoopi] too hard for that is a little bit hypocritical.
[to Dee Dee Myers, when asked how people react to his campaigning for candidates he supports] Well, I mean, to be perfectly honest, probably the most effective things that celebrities do for political candidates is raise money. You know, that's something that you can do. And unlike, say, fund-raisers sponsored by -- you know, engineered by insurance companies or oil companies, at least what you can say for celebrities is they're not expecting, you know, deregulation of their industry in return. So that's one of things that I'm, I've been able to do and to try to help them do it. Other than that, you know, I've lived this sort of strange, sometimes unpleasant, but mostly very lucky life that's involved lately a lot of media attention. And one of the things that feels good to me to do is to try to steer that in a direction of something more significant and at least be -- try to create some political dialogue. And that's satisfying. Some people react to me kindly, and others don't. That's sort of the nature of politics." [Myers follows up: "Do you think it's kind of a risk for your career as movie star to get in bed with one party?"] "Unequivocally. Absolutely. And I think that's why, you know, actually, people say, Well, you see all these celebrities. To my mind, you see very, very few. Most feel like, and probably correctly so, that to be identified with one side of the ideological fence or other risks alienating a segment of your audience that may like your movies, may want to buy your tickets, and in fact, may make it more difficult for them to suspend their disbelief when they go see you in a movie because they have you closely identified with something else. For me, part of that is already compromised, and it's also something that's interesting enough for me, and I don't care quite so much about that kind of image that I'm able to do it. But I think a lot of people shy away from it, and many celebrities you see who've gone out there, tried to be active, have gotten pretty beaten down, you know? And so I think there is a risk, yes." [July 27, 2004, quoted in the MSNBC Transcripts]
[told by David Gergen that many were surprised by how well he "elucidated"] Well, David, I think I benefit from the same thing that helped George W. Bush in the  debates, which is tremendously low expectations.
[when asked why he thought George W. Bush, after hearing that New York was under attack on Sept 11, remained in a Florida classroom, doing nothing, for several minutes] It's obviously very disturbing footage. On the one hand, you see a reaction on a man's face that he is clearly pained and shocked. I probably did the same thing sitting on my chair. I was completely freaked out and a little devastated. On the other hand, one does hope that in one's leaders, that they have the instinct to spring into action, to take some action or make the appearance of taking some action. And I was disappointed to see that he didn't do that, although I don't entirely hold it against him because, frankly, I was as shocked and devastated as he was. Although I think flying around in Air Force One for 11 hours before coming back and landing in the White House was probably less forgivable.
When I got to L.A., my family had me go to dinner with this guy who had been acting here for 20 years. He gave me this big lecture and said, "You know how much money I made in 20 years of acting? Eight thousand dollars. And I'm a carpenter." He was just really unhappy and it was depressing. Then he got really stoned and I went home and felt sick. I think it was just morbid fear. I was 18. That fear stays with you so intensely and you're constantly just getting turned down for what you think of as the most vapid, stupid kind of paycheck, "Baywatch" (1989) things, and you think, "Jesus, if I'm not good enough for this, then I'm not going to make it". This town is too hard, and people were always telling me, "You're too big, you're too tall, you can only play bullies and you will never be a leading man.
[on his struggles as an actor before becoming successful] I lived all over the place. I lived in Hollywood, then I moved. [Matt Damon] and I got money from School Ties (1992), and we blew it all in a couple of months. We made $35,000 or $40,000 each and thought we were rich. And we were shocked later on to find out how much we owed in taxes. We were appalled: $15,000! What? But we rented this house on the beach in Venice and 800 people came and stayed with us and got drunk. Then we ran out of money and had to get an apartment. It was like everything was exciting. So we lived in Glendale and Eagle Rock and we lived in Hollywood, West Hollywood, Venice, by the Hollywood Bowl, all over the place. We'd get thrown out of some places or we'd have to upgrade or downgrade depending on who had money.
It's like Christmas: it's all advertising, and the first rule of selling somebody something is to make them seem inadequate. Make them feel like they need it. Like fabric softener. Nobody really needs fabric softener and yet, all of a sudden, you feel like a jackass if you don't have fabric softener, so people buy it. And that's how Christmas has become, because 50% of all retail sales happen in December. You are bombarded with this stuff - money will make you happy, and keeping up with the Joneses. Obviously that stuff doesn't make you happy, otherwise there wouldn't be all these unhappy rich people. They'd all be happy in their jacuzzis and OK, some of them are.
God help me if I ever do another movie with an explosion in it. If you see me in a movie where stuff is exploding you'll know I've lost all my money.
Sure, I suffered a lot. But it's not like the end of the world and it's not who I am. I lead quite a pleasant life and I'm able to divorce a perceived reality from my actual experience of life.
[on his career path and choice of movies] I have definitely noticed that I care less about certain things. Other actors are like, "You can't do that", or "You can't do this. This will position you in the wrong way." That's not my thing. And obviously so, because you can see I don't craft or cultivate my career.
I've finally learnt how to say, "No comment". To appear in the tabloids is a real learning curve and a steep one at that. You had better learn quick or you get burnt.
[about the New York Yankees' principal owner] You know George M. Steinbrenner III is the center of all evil in the universe.
I'm not known for having great relationships with ex-girlfriends, but I've been able to continue one with [Gwyneth Paltrow] that's really valuable.
I'm always described as "cocksure" or "with a swagger", and that bears no resemblance to who I feel like inside. I feel plagued by insecurity.
I remember back when I was a kid there was a comic strip called Plastic Man. His body was elastic and he could make his extremities as long as he wanted. As a youngster I didn't fully appreciate. But I'm now thinking Plastic Man was probably pretty popular with the ladies.
I hate the whole reluctant sex-symbol thing. It's such bull. You see these dudes greased up, in their underwear, talking about how they don't want to be a sex symbol.
I kinda see my current position like this: "Here's your five minutes in the toy store, so you gotta do all the good movies you can before 'Chuck Woolery' rings the bell."
When I look up at the screen and see myself I always have to laugh. Not because I think I'm doing a horrible job, quite the contrary, I just feel it's so surreal to feel like one person can entertain so many at one time.
I just feel like sometimes I'm a force to be dealt with. My talents are sometimes overused and also sometimes underused. It's not easy being me.
I never know what my next move will be in Hollywood. It's such an unpredictable town. People get jaded and lost and I've been able to stay a float. I think the next logical step in my career would be to start my own filmmaking empire like [Harvey Weinstein] and [Bob Weinstein] did so many years ago. I think if only the unions weren't so strict in Boston, I'd set up shop there and make films of a certain quality you don't see represented these days. I'm full of ideas and dreams.
[asked by Dee Dee Myers if he thought it was risky for his career to be identified with a particular political party] Unequivocally. Absolutely. And I think that's why, you know, actually, people say, "Well, you see all these celebrities". To my mind, you see very, very few. Most feel like, and probably correctly so, that to be identified with one side of the ideological fence or other risks alienating a segment of your audience that may like your movies, may want to buy your tickets, and in fact, may make it more difficult for them to suspend their disbelief when they go see you in a movie because they have you closely identified with something else. For me, part of that is already compromised, and it's also something that's interesting enough for me, and I don't care quite so much about that kind of image that I'm able to do it. But I think a lot of people shy away from it, and many celebrities you see who've gone out there, tried to be active, have gotten pretty beaten down, you know? And so I think there is a risk, yes.