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The line of people hoping to direct a Star Wars movie likely ran pretty long, but we'll never really know who made it onto that list unless they discuss it in public. Steven Spielberg tells an interesting story of how he recruited J.J. Abrams to The Force Awakens by wining and dining Abrams' wife. (Smart move.) Now we're discovering that before Abrams signed on the dotted line, Ben Affleck might have been offered the job, only to turn it down.
Ben Affleck was a guest on the debut episode of Bill Simmons' HBO show Any Given Wednesday, and if you haven't yet seen his tirade about Deflategate (he's a Patriots fan), it's worth a watch. However, during the episode, Affleck also strongly hinted that he had an opportunity to direct an "iconic" project what has many assuming it's Star Wars. Affleck said to Simmons, when asked if it was true that he "almost directed the Star Wars movie" :
Well, it wouldn't be polite to talk about the jobs you turn down, but I had a lot of offers. It's like, forks in the road that are, like, legitimate different paths. Boy, my life's going to be really different if I go this way, or do Batman, or I do this other... iconic thing.
The timing of it makes sense. Affleck filmedBatman v Superman: Dawn of Justice for nearly two years before it was released in theaters in March 2016, months after Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit multiplexes. There's no doubt that Lucasfilm went after a number of young, successful directors who'd likely grown up on Star Wars as they looked for people willing to bring the universe back to life in The Force Awakens. And Affleck, as you'll recall, had just shepherded a Best Picture-winning movie in Argo to the screen. So yeah, he had some clout.
Instead, Ben Affleck bet heavy on DC and Warner Bros., and it's unclear for the moment how that's working out for him. Though Batman v Superman made money, it wasn't the smash hit the studio wanted it to be. However, Affleck's portrayal of Bruce Wayne and the Caped Crusader earned raves. The actor is currently shooting Justice League with Zack Snyder, and he's heavily favored to direct a solo Batman movie, if he can find a script that he likes. So he doesn't need Star Wars. And if he's to be believed, he didn't want it, because they offered, and he passed.
Affleck talks about the opportunity around the 20-minute mark of this clip:
What do you think? Would Star Wars: The Force Awakens have been as good if Ben Affleck had directed? Maz Kanata's bar likely would have been located in Southie, which might have been strange. I think Affleck made the right decision. Do you?