Ben Affleck Has Been Influencing Matt Damon's Acting Far Longer Than We Knew

With decades-long acting careers and a few Oscars between them, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are two of the most iconic names in Hollywood. But what is so cute about these two is that the timeline of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's friendship is much longer than their Hollywood fame. Affleck even had an influence on Damon's acting back in the day.

What some fans may not know is that Affleck and Damon grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, meeting one another when Damon was ten and Affleck was eight. Years later, their childhood bond is still evident in their joint interviews, public appearances, and collaborations. In 2023, they teamed up for "AIR," a film based on the true story of Nike officially signing NBA star Michael Jordan. Affleck not only directed the film but also played Nike's co-founder Phil Knight, while Damon took on the role of marketing executive Sonny Vaccaro. 

This movie about the creation of the Air Jordan brand seemed to be the first time Affleck had directed Damon. Surprisingly, it wasn't. Affleck played a role in developing Damon's acting chops long before the two ever hit the big screen!

Ben Affleck gave Matt Damon acting advice for school plays

At a screening of "AIR" in March 2023, Matt Damon shared that Ben Affleck gave him some direction when they were only kids. The "Martian" star told Indiewire, "Well, it might seem like the first time he's directed me. I mean, we did high school plays where he was like, 'Dude, I think you should do it like this.' He's been directing me for like forty-something years." Affleck also quipped, "It's not the first time I've carried him!"

While the actors started their careers at young ages, their first shared movie appearance wasn't until 1989 as extras in "Field of Dreams." However, achieving stardom in Hollywood is no easy feat. It took Affleck and Damon eight more years and two more movies together before they won their first Oscars. The friends shared that special moment on stage, standing side by side, as they received their Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay for writing credits on 1997's "Good Will Hunting." The special guests Matt Damon and Ben Affleck brought to their first Oscars also created an online buzz as they mirrored each other.

In an interview on The Tonight Show in 2021, Affleck revealed to Jimmy Fallon that they never thought the movie would get released. The two agreed that "Good Will Hunting" was made to be an acting reel. No one was hiring them then, so they decided to believe in one another and write a movie themselves. It speaks to an amazing and supportive friendship between the two stars.

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are going to make more movies together

What many might not have known about Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's 2023 movie, "AIR," is that it was the first movie produced by their joint production company, "Artists Equity". That's right: the besties have a co-owned platform for more collaborations and creative independence. But it was not their first try. In 2000, the duo co-founded "LivePlanet" with Sean Bailey and Chris Moore. However, the multimedia company closed in 2008 after its deal with Disney ended.

About 15 years later, Affleck and Damon are trying again with "Artists Equity," backed by "RedBird Capital." With Affleck serving as CEO and Damon as the Chief Creative Officer, the company, announced in November 2022, strives to break the stiff Hollywood business structure and reward artists more in the movie profits. The veteran actors' new venture benefits from a wealth of experience and accomplishments that were missing the first time they tried.

Affleck has hinted at a large slate of movies to come from their company, with Damon committed to producing and starring in several of them. With good reviews on their latest movie together, we are expecting more of their collaborations or even reboots.