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Gen up on Ben 'n' Jen.

Byline: By Robin Walker

Sometimes it isn't easy being a Hollywood Golden Boy, just ask Ben Affleck. His wedding to Jennifer Lopez, due to take place last Sunday, was called off just days before and now the pair are rumoured to have split.

Lopez spent the weekend at her oceanfront house in Miami, while Affleck was spotted at a casino 2,000 miles away in Los Angeles.

To add to his woes, the much hyped film, Gigli - which the two met on and is about to be released in the UK - crashed and burned spectacularly in America.

The fluffy crime romance movie was supposed to be the perfect melding of two of Hollywood's current heart-throbs, the sultry Lopez and the All-American Affleck.

Affleck plays a tough guy named Larry Gigli, sent to kidnap a kid, while Lopez plays a lesbian enforcer who is sent to ensure he does a good job.

Passion flared between the two off-set, but on-screen it didn't work out the same, despite a wonderful cameo by Al Pacino.

The $55m project bombed so badly at the US box-office that it has become part of Tinsel Town folklore about movie disasters.

While Affleck maintains the acting is good, he admits Gigli as a whole doesn't hold together.

"I think there was a certain amount of a critical slam dunk contest that it turned into, that's just part of the deal."

It wasn't supposed to turn out this way for the A-list star of Pearl Harbor, The Sum Of All Fears and the upcoming comic superhero Daredevil franchise. But at least 31-year-old Affleck seems to be taking it on the chin.

"So go ahead, fire away with the really intrusive and insulting questions," he jauntily remarked to a recent press conference.

Part of the problem with promoting Gigli is not only has it been hurt by bad reviews, but it has also been swamped by all the interest in Affleck and Lopez's off-screen relationship.

When the pair met during shooting for the film in 2001, Lopez was still married to her second husband, dancer Chris Judd. They became engaged four months later, after her divorce.

"All this gets in the way of people watching your movies," says Affleck. "It takes the audience much longer to accept you as your character."

At least he got to work briefly with screen legend Al Pacino...

"Just spending that week with him and watching him work was the best acting lesson I've ever had," he says.

Affleck admits he was somewhat surprised by the media storm his relationship to Lopez caused.

"I've been in public relationships before with Gwyneth (Paltrow) and I know there's a degree of publicity that goes along with this, but I was a little shocked. I don't know what's different about it."

Speaking before his marriage to Lopez was called off, Affleck stoutly defended the 33-year-old Latino singer and actress.

He argued she has been unfairly tagged as hard-nosed, although he did joke about their respective gangster roles in Gigli - "Oh, Jennifer is for real tough, I'm just a fake tough guy. She's the one who goes downstairs to check if we hear a noise during the night."

The two may have parted but they'll be seen on screen together again, in the upcoming Jersey Girl.

"Though it's not another 'me-and-Jen' movie - she's only in it for ten minutes," he says.

Affleck, who burst on the scene with boyhood friend Matt Damon in the Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting, has already signed up to do a Daredevil sequel.

"I'd like to think I'm getting these great film offers because of my towering talent," he says. "But I know it's as much about the state of my visibility.

"I'm marketable right now. As an actor you sell your life along with the movies you make."
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Ents Film
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Sep 19, 2003
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