Ben and Casey Affleck: A Hollywood hate story
Together, brothers Ben and Casey Affleck rule over Hollywood and the Academy, but their popularity indexes have always run low.
As actress and fellow Oscar-winner Brie Larson explained her refusal to applaud Casey at the Oscars, we are left wondering how the two brothers manage to stay above the fray.
Casey’s recently resurfaced allegations of sexual harassment have cast a shadow over his Oscars glory, while Ben’s pursuit of comic book glory as Batman has brought him nothing but pain.
But still, life has been good for the two unlikely heroes of Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Born to an alcoholic father who, according to Casey, was a “disaster of a drinker”, they still had the advantages of a liberal arts education with their mother.
Growing up on the streets of Boston gave the two artistic brothers a certain “streetwise” groove.
And meeting the talented Matt Damon at the age of 10 gave brother Ben the support needed for his big break.
Ben and Matt started writing the screenplay for Good Will Hunting when they were still in college.
The story of a Boston Southie with a brilliant mind eventually turned into an Oscar for best original screenplay, and catapulted the two friends (and co-star young Casey) to Hollywood stardom.
But, while Damon was praised and awarded for his performance, Ben was always the underdog.
Mocked for his “nice guy face” and blunt roles, Ben’s popularity dropped to all-time lows when wife Jennifer Gardner confirmed his affair with a former nanny.
After that, came the inglorious job of taking over from Christian Bale as the Batman.
Batman V Superman was a critical disaster – remember Sad Affleck? – but, by the time it came out, Ben had already signed a contract with DC Comics and was on his way to direct the next Caped Crusader film.
Things aren’t looking good for The Batman, though.
Affleck, who plays the eponymous hero, will no longer direct the movie – arguing he “cannot do both jobs to the level they require”.
The movie has had such bad press that even his future co-star Joe Manganiello has come to his defence, calling the media “a bunch of drama queens”.
This comes on top of his gangster-noir drama, box office flop Live By Night, which earned just over $ 21m worldwide.
But what is surprising about Affleck is that, despite the bad press, he still managed to write, direct and star in Oscar-winning movies.
The same applies to his younger brother.
Casey had his big break in 1995, cast alongside Joaquin Phoenix in Gus Van Sant’s To Die For.
After that, there was Good Will Hunting and his career hit a slump.
It was only in 2007, starring as the coward Robert Ford alongside Brad Pitt in The Assassination of Jesse James, that Hollywood remembered Casey.
And not without merit.
His performance this year in Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea is one for the books, and his Oscar was long due.
His accusations of sexual harassment were settled out of court, leaving room for criticism.
The actor denied them, and said he believes “that any kind of mistreatment of anyone for any reason is unacceptable and abhorrent, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect in the workplace and anywhere else”.
Even Lonergan came publicly to his defence, penning an open letter against a newspaper for what he called “flat-out slander” against the actor.
Larson still refused to applaud him, later saying the act “spoke for itself”.
But he still got his Oscar, and so did Ben.
Despite their past trespasses (or not), the two Afflecks will surely continue their prolific path across Hollywood Boulevard.
And, for anyone who loves film, that is probably a good thing.