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Ben Affleck Recalls Working With Jennifer Lopez On Gigli And Explains What He Learned From The Job

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez sitting in a sofa in Gigli
(Image credit: Sony)

While Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are years removed from Gigli, the film is still fresh in some moviegoers minds. Of course, the biggest part of the film’s legacy is that it birthed the relationship betwee Lopez and Affleck (a.k.a. Bennifer). And after the two rekindled their romance last year, the poorly received comedy has gained some interest from a new generation. As viewers focus on their love once more, the Tender Bar star reflected on working on Lopez and what he learned from working on the Martin Brest-directed film.

The media hoopla surrounding Bennifer seemed to overshadow the film’s marketing and eventual release. While Jennifer Lopez was able to move on from the film relatively quickly, it took some time for Ben Affleck to truly rebound in Hollywood. But years after the comedy’s release, the Last Duel star seems to have gained some perspective on the situation. Affleck was very candid while speaking with Matt Damon for Entertainment Weekly about how media oversaturation and public perception played into Gigli’s poor reception:

But really, the truth about that movie and what it taught me was how much everything around a movie sort of dictates the way people see it. But for being a movie that's such a famous bomb and a disaster, very few people actually saw the movie. It doesn't work, by the way. It's a sort of horse's head in a cow's body. And the studio at the time, because I had begun having this relationship with Jennifer Lopez, which was selling a lot of magazines and appeared to generate a lot of enthusiasm, they just predictably latched onto, ‘They want a romantic comedy. They want the two of them together. More of that!’ And it was just like that SNL sketch: ‘Bad Idea.’

At the time, it seemed that Sony was indeed playing into the public's fascination with the two stars' real-life relationship. The Justice League star admitted he knew the film was in trouble when he, Jennifer Lopez, and the cast were called back for five weeks of reshoots. Later in the interview, he recalled how the film's story problems and the Bennifer chaos made for a perfect storm:

It's just that it became a story in and of itself. The funny name, the Jennifer Lopez romance, and overexposure of that, it was kind of a perfect storm. And I remember talking to Marty the Friday it came out and I was like it's just spectacular, it's a tsunami, it couldn't be worse. This is as bad as it gets.

At the very least, Ben Affleck had the wherewithal to know all the negative attention might spell unwelcome news for the rom-com’s success. The Way Back star later took some accountability for the film’s failure while speaking honestly about the aftermath and what it ultimately gave him:

I thought my job was to be a cipher. I can see now how people looked at me and thought of this person as some callow frat guy who's cavalier or has too much. It engendered a lot of negative feelings in people about me. There's that aspect of people that I got to see that was sad and hard, it was depressing and really made me question things and feel disappointed and have a lot of self-doubt. But if the reaction to Gigli hadn't happened, I probably wouldn't have ultimately decided, "I don't really have any other avenue but to direct movies," which has turned out to be the real love of my professional life. So in those ways, it's a gift. And I did get to meet Jennifer, the relationship with whom has been really meaningful to me in my life.

Ben Affleck has gained a lot of perspective on his personal and professional lives from rough experiences like this one and the more recent working experience he had on Justice League. The turbulent time pushed him to pivot toward his impressive directing career, and many moviegoers are likely very grateful for that. Still, most would that the entertainment word was forever changed as a result of the film launching a decades-long obsession with Affleck and Jennifer Lopez’s romantic lives.

But it's honestly nice to see that the two stars have given love a second go decades after meeting on the set of the film, and they seem to be taking a different approach to their relationship. At this point, both stars seem to have a clearer grasp on balancing their romance with their busy careers. But if you want to see where it essentially all began, you check out Gigli on HBO Max.

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).