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Ben Affleck and Matt Damon

Ben Affleck Says Matt Damon's Jealousy Drove Him to Acting

Gettyimages | Jerritt Clark
By Joe Allen

Ben Affleck thinks he deserves some credit for his good friend's career. In an interview on the Jess Cagle Show, Affleck suggested that it was his fault that Matt Damon had wound up with such a successful career in Hollywood.

He said that it all started when he was cast in an educational program as a young kid. Apparently, Damon's jealousy of Affleck's success at a young age was so severe that it drove him into acting, and that's where he's been ever since.

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Ben Affleck at a Q&A
Gettyimages | Ore Huiying

“When I was really young, my mom’s friend [was] a casting director in Boston,” Affleck said. “She was casting a kids’ science and math, adventure, sort of pre-"Dora the Explorer" kind of show for PBS and had me come in to audition and worked with me on it. I was 7 or 8 and ended up getting the part."

Affleck said the show aired occasionally, but his experience as a child actor was pretty minimal otherwise. He wasn't always out auditioning.

Matt Damon on the red carpet
Gettyimages | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin

“It instilled in me a deep sort of love and affection for this art and craft and line of work. And it made Matt Damon so incredibly jealous [that] it drove him into a career in cinema. So I really take credit for that,” he jokingly said.

Although he was joking, Affleck told a very similar story during an interview on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." There, he suggested that Damon had "boiled with envy" because of his part on the kids' show.

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon at the Golden Globes
Gettyimages | HAL GARB

Affleck also said that Damon carried that competitive spirit into their auditions in high school, when they both went out for the school play. “[Matt] walked up to me and said, ‘Let me give you a little advice. This isn’t TV, where you get by on your looks and your haircut. This is about talent,'” Affleck said.

Of course, the two would end up rising to prominence together, starting with small roles as extras in classic movies like "Field of Dreams."

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon
Gettyimages | Denise Truscello

They became Hollywood royalty after they both won Oscars for writing "Good Will Hunting," which they also starred in. The movie was a critical and commercial success, and it proved that both Affleck and Damon would be Hollywood figures for decades to come.

In the years since, they've remained friends, even as they have taken different paths through Hollywood. Affleck has turned more to directing, even as he continues to perform, while Damon has carefully honed a movie star persona.

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