Matt Damon And Ben Affleck Reveal It Was Kevin Smith Who Saved Good Will Hunting

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in Good Will Hunting screenshot
(Image credit: Miramax)

Ben Affeck and Kevin Smith’s relationship goes way back to the early days of their careers, with Affleck starring in two of Smith’s movies in the ‘90s — 1995’s Mallrats and 1997’s Chasing Amy. While their relationship has had its ups and downs over the years, their bond at one time was undeniable, and Smith even credits himself for coining the “Bennifer” nickname for Affleck and again-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez. It seems Smith played another, even more significant, role in Affleck’s life, as the The Last Duel actor and Damon recently revealed that Smith saved their Oscar-winning film Good Will Hunting.

Matt Damon recently interviewed Ben Affleck for EW, and the two took a deep dive into Affleck’s early career, with Damon pointing out that Kevin Smith and Affleck were frequent collaborators back in the day. Affleck said he liked working with the Silent Bob actor, calling him “funny and smart and charming.” What’s more, Damon said that Smith really deserves the credit for getting Good Will Hunting made:

Kevin also saved Good Will Hunting. This is not a small side note. He is the reason Good Will Hunting got made. We were dead in the water, all the offers had evaporated.

Wow, it sounds like if comic book aficionado hadn’t stepped in, we might not have known the story of math genius Will Hunting and his relationship with therapist Sean Maguire (Robin Williams). Kevin Smith is credited as a co-executive producer on the film, which Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote and starred in. The movie was nominated for nine Academy Awards in 1998, winning two — Best Supporting Actor for Williams and Best Original Screenplay for Damon and Affleck. 

Good Will Hunting helped establish Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as both writers and actors in Hollywood, and there’s no doubt if the comics writer and animator saved their movie, he had a hand in the success both of them have gone on to see. Affleck acknowledged as much in the EW interview, but said when the time came to give credit where it was due, he dropped the ball:

I promised him I would thank him if we ever got an Oscar and promptly forgot. And then I told him, ‘If I ever win again I swear to God I'm going to thank you.’ Forgot again.

After winning the Oscar with Matt Damon for Good Will Hunting, the former Batman actor added to his collection in 2013, winning the Academy Award for Best Picture with Argo, which he directed and starred in. Apparently, the actor forgot both times to thank Kevin Smith for putting them on the path to success by getting his 1997 dramedy made. 

Kevin Smith may not have gotten his Oscar shout-out, but he did get Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to reprise their Good Will Hunting roles in his 2001 movie Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and they also appeared in 2019’s Jay and Silent Bob Reboot

Ben Affleck can currently be seen in the George Clooney-helmed The Tender Bar, which is streaming on Prime. Check out our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to see what else is coming soon. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.