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The Infamous Bomb Ben Affleck Thanks For His Directing Career

Ben Affleck is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, being a notable actor, a respected director, and an Oscar-winning producer and screenwriter. The Boston native got his start taking minor roles on forgettable TV series before landing the role of O'Bannion in Richard Linklater's highly-quotable "Dazed and Confused." He appeared in two films directed by indie darling Kevin Smith ("Mallrats," "Chasing Amy") before co-writing and starring in "Good Will Hunting," which turned Affleck and his writing partner, co-star, and best friend Matt Damon into household names. The duo won an Academy Award in 1998 (per IMDb) for their original screenplay.

However, Affleck's roles after "Good Will Hunting" proved to be a series of box office (and critical) hits and misses that include "Armageddon," "Shakespeare in Love," "Forces of Nature," "Boiler Room," "Pearl Harbor," and "Changing Lanes." He also reteamed with Smith for the non-secular comedy "Dogma" and "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back."

While "Good Will Hunting" marked the beginning of Affleck's meteoric rise to fame, he claims that his role in one universally acknowledged bomb paved the way for his work behind the camera.

Aflleck pursued directing after starring in Gigli

In 2003, Ben Affleck played a dimwitted hitman in the critically-panned "Gigli." Affleck co-starred opposite his then (and now) real-life love, Jennifer Lopez. The film holds a paltry 6% approval rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes and garnered just over $7 million at the box office worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo

However, every cloud has a silver lining. In a recent interview with Matt Damon for Entertainment Weekly, Affleck credited "Gigli" for jump-starting his directing career, albeit in an unexpected way. "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," Affleck said.

In 2007, Affleck directed the big-screen adaptation of Dennis Lehane's bestselling novel "Gone Baby Gone" (he also penned the screenplay), which stars Affleck's younger brother Casey as a private detective searching for a missing girl. The film was well-received by critics (it boasts a 94% approval on Rotten Tomatoes). After starring in and directing 2010's crime thriller "The Town, Affleck stepped behind the camera once again for 2012's "Argo." That movie, which chronicles the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, earned seven Academy Award nominations in 2013 (via IMDb) and won for Best Picture, garnering Affleck, who also served as a producer, his second Oscar.

Affleck's acting career has long since recovered since "Gigli," and it seems Affleck views the flop as a "gift" these days — one that seems to keep on giving. "And I did get to meet Jennifer [Lopez]," he added, "the relationship with whom has been really meaningful to me in my life."