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Oh yes, that subject is right on. In case you weren’t aware, Ben Affleck took home the top acting prize at the Venice Film Festival. The shocking development, among other topics, is discussed in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.

Q: Congrats on your win in Venice. When did you first find out?
Affleck: I found out at like five in the morning in Los Angeles, or whenever the corresponding time of the awards banquet in Venice was. They just called me and said, ”You’ve won this award, do you have a statement to be read?” And I was shocked. If I thought there was any chance of me winning, I wouldn’t have left early.

Q: The film (Hollywoodland) has been received pretty well.
A: It was a great part, so I was just happy to get the job. I’m trying to do my very best, mostly out of fear of failure. But you never really know how people are going to perceive something. I guess there are people who are really attuned to buzz or read the pre-release tea leaves, but I certainly do not know ahead of time, as has been discovered. So we were just happy to get in.

Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez in 2021
(Getty Images)

Q: Although this is your first released movie in two years, you’ve been keeping busy.
A: Yeah, I did [Joe Carnahan’s Vegas drama] Smokin’ Aces, and I’ve been directing and developing [an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s] Gone, Baby, Gone, which I’ll be [in post-production with] until February or March of next year, certainly. I’ve been prepping it for a year now, and I wrote a TV pilot before that. But I’d been wanting to take some time off, so that was all by design.

I was pretty fatigued, and felt the [film] options I was going to be offered was stuff that I didn’t really want to do, and I didn’t want to be tempted to do it, so the smart thing to do was just to take a break and let the chips fall as they may.

Q: Are you concerned about alienating fans of the [Lehane] series?
A: Because there are a core group of fans and he’s such a well-respected novelist, I wanted to be really, really careful. Obviously, the story needs to be shorter, so characters got compressed, but we didn’t change the ending. I consider this to be very faithful. Maybe I’ve done a disservice, but I didn’t approach [the movie] as one in a series, I did it as one story – and it’s a pretty dark, down story.

Q: When’s the film slated to come out?
A: Right now, we’re still editing; we don’t even have a composer yet. But we’re starting to have discussions about whether it will be next year; we’ll certainly be finished for spring or fall. I assume it’s not a summer movie.

Q: What was your pilot about?
A: I pitched a one-hour show that did not get picked up. I kind of knew going in, because I had written it as a two-hour drama, and everyone was like, ”Why don’t you turn it into a one-hour drama, and come back?” It was a post-apocalyptic America political piece called ”Resistance.”

Sounds profound. They’re probably considering Kevin Federline for the lead.