Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People: Ben Affleck

ABC's Barbara Walters interviews Hollywood actor Ben Affleck.
7:53 | 12/12/12

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Transcript for Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People: Ben Affleck
Hello again. Everybody likes a good comeback story-- not that our next guest ever really had to come back from much. For two decades, he's been rich and famous, a movie star, and so very good-looking. That's what makes himso fascinating. All that wasn't enoughfor ben affleck. (man) HOW ABOUT A SMILE? This is the year ben affleck took hollywood by storm. (protestors shout indistinctly) He produced, directed,and starred in "argo." It's gonna take a miracleto get them out. The movie, the third film he's directed, tells the story of the real-life cia operation to rescue six diplomats during the iranian hostage crisis through an elaborate scheme. I got an idea-- they're a canadian film crew for a science fiction movie. I fly into tehran. We all fly out together as a film crew. If I'm doing a fake movie, it's gonna be a fake hit. Affleck won kudos for his accomplished direction, combining suspense with cynical humor. Here's your director. Can you teach somebody to be a director in a day? Yoach a rhesus monkey to be a director in a day. One of the biggest hits of the year, it has everyone talking oscar. Let's just say that lightning strikes and you're up for an academy award... For best director or for best actor? (laughs) YOU, UH, YOU KNOW, LET'S SAY... "You should be so lucky" or something. Either you can fly or you can see through walls. Uh, you know, I'll kinda cross that bridge, uh, when I get to it, you know. In hollywood, ben has never been taken quite seriously, his career a carousel of changing roles-- independent film star... We've all gottahave sex together. Action star... (shouts indistinctly) Leading man, ladies man, and, of course, matt damon's best friend. But with his latest role-- serious filmmaker-- ben seems to have finally hit his stride. You turned 40 this summer, u know, couple of months ago. Just effortlessly. Just effortlessly. Didn't take me anything. I just turned 40. Is that a life changer? Uh, initially, I sort of was dreading it because I thought, does this mean I'm not young? What does--what does this make me? But, you know, what I found is that it actually is the kind of perfect age. He grew up outside boston. His father was an actor who worked as a janitor and mechanic to help support the family. His mother was a harvard-educated teacher. I'm ben affleck, and I'm in the arctic testchamber for the united states... He started acting at 7. By 11, he was starringin a pbs series. Hi. I'm still ben affleck. I don't know. He's beenon my case for days. Everything I do is wrong. Tv movies and commercialsfollowed. HELLO? (woman, breathy voice) Hi. Is this Burger King? Uh... Yeah.Yeah, this is burger king. When you were 12 years old, your parents divorced. Tough time? To be honest with you, the marriage was so bad that I remember feeling relief. Your dad was an alcoholic. Yes, he was an alcoholic. Did you know that as a child? Was thof the... Yeah, I did know that. Trauma of your childhood? He drank a lot. My father was a-- oh, what did they call him? Arealalcoholic. He, uh... You know, he drank all day. He drank every day. And to his credit, he--he got sober ultimately and he's been sober for several decades, which I think is pretty impressive. So was it... A good childhood? A difficult childhood? A what? I think it was all those things, but I had good friends. You know, I had matt damon, and my brother's a great guy. Ah. And I had a nucleus of friends that I grew up with and I had support from. You go to school here? Yep. IN THEIR EARLY 20s, Ben and matt began writingthe film "good will hunting" as a star vehiclefor themselves. Matt played the lead. Ben was his rough-around-the-edges best friend. Look, you're my best friend, so don't take this the wrong way but... In 20 years, if you're still livin' here, coming over to my house to watch the patriots games, STILL WORKING IN CONSTRUCTION, I'LL (bleep) Kill you. Your big break, "good will hunting"-- he played the genius. You played the dimwitted FRIEND. (laughs) That wasn't how I imagined it going into it. Like, you know, "i wonder if we can write a script where I'm a dimwit?" YEAH, WELL, YOU TURNED OUT TO BE. (laughs) Did you--but you didn't expect to be? Uh, I didn't anticipate that people would kind of conflate us with our characters. Yeah. And the oscar goes to... Ben affleck and matt damon! Ben and matt won the oscarfor best original screenplay. (laughs)I JUST SAID TO MATT, "Losing would suck and winning would be really scary," and it's really, really scary. Uh... Superstardom seemedright around the corner. We love you! Thank you! Thank you so much! Yeah! At 25, you won an oscar. Then you had a string of movies that seemed to flop. Not "seemed to flop." They flopped. Why? You know, it's like, you work as hard as you possibly can. You know something's wrong, and it just doesn't-- it just doesn't work. And I try not to--to, uh, wallow in--in regrets. And there's a couple of movies that I don't like and that still-- that still burn me, and I take more pain out of the ones that still chafe me than the ones that were successful. The least successful--"gigli"... Hello. Hi. Often called one of the worst movies ever made. That's the bull. On it, he met jennifer lopez. Dubbed by the press "bennifer," they dated and broke up in a blaze of toxic publicity. How bad did it get? Yeah, there was a period of time where I was definitely overexposed, you know. And I think that people get overly familiar with you and they exhausted by you. It took time to extract myself from that. You said at one point to matt damon, can sell magazines but I can't sell films." Yeah. I-i seemed to be at least part of what was selling magazines. And, you know, they don't even have the decency TO GIVE YOU YOUR CUT. (laughs) I didn't kill your father! Liar! Aah! On the set of "daredevil," a new jenniferentered his life. In 2004, you started datingjennifer garner. Yes. Nine months later, she became pregnant. Then you got married. So... See how I do it? YEAH. YEAH. I KNOW. RIGHT AWAY. (laughs) But that-- that was about 11 months, but okay. Okay. That's not necessarily the best way to begin a marriage. Well, it's not necessarily the best way to begin a marriage. Certainly if I was standing on the outside, I would say, "jeez, you got pregnant right away. Ooh. Mnh." Um, but, you know, we were really in love. And, you know, when that happened, we--we embraced it. And now seven years. Good? Very good. I got really lucky. I married a really wonderful woman who-- who is a great mother. Your wife gave up a-a good part of her career. Indeed she did. Does she ever resent it or resent you? She has given up, uh, a lot of opportunities in her career, um, for our kids. Yes. Uh, I don't flatter myself to think that it's--it's for me. But it's because of me, in effect. It's because you got her pregnant and she has kids. (chuckles) WELL, THAT IS-- YES, BARBARA, There is that. (laughs) BUT BECAUSE... (laughs) Uh, I went and worked so much and I started directing... Yeah. And that was taking two years, and she just didn't feel like, "oh, nowican go ten weeks and go do a movie." Yeah. So she--she really spent her time, um, with our children, and you can see the benefits it pays. If you could give advice to your 25-year-old self, what would you say? You know, I'd be inclined to--to say, you know, to watch out for this guy and don't spend money on this, and buy real estate right up until 2007 and then dump it all. That kind of thing. OH, THAT'S GOOD ADVICE. UH... (laughs) But the truth is about youth and experience and success and failure, is that you just have to go live it and experience it. And if you don't, it doesn't make you a mature adult. I think that you're defined by how you rise more than how you fall.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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