Ben Affleck on His Career Ups and Downs: 'We Grow Up'

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Ben Affleck knows his career reads like a screenplay's "three-act structure."

First came his well-regarded indie roles and his ascent to Hollywood royalty after winning a Best Screenplay Oscar with pal Matt Damon. Then came the lost years: a series of box office bombs ("Daredevil," "Jersey Girl," "Gigli") and his engagement to Jennifer Lopez that helped make him what he called "the world's most overexposed actor." Then, came redemption: After marrying Hollywood's "girl next door," Jennifer Garner, in 2005 and directing three critically-acclaimed films in a row, Affleck won another Oscar in 2013 and was crowned Hollywood royalty again.

Despite how it sounds, Affleck said he was never lost.

"I think for me there's the idea that, 'Oh, he was callow and foolish in his youth and has sort of learned the error of his ways and has redeemed himself and is now like, maybe, a person of substance,'" the 42-year-old actor and director told The New York Times. "But it wasn't that I was lost and now I'm found. It was because we grow up. We kind of evolve."

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Still, he admitted for a good part of his career he felt out of step with the roles he was cast in - both on and off the screen.

That includes the "Bennifer" days, when he said he felt "cast in a soap opera where I had no control over the lines I was saying or the story line."

Back then, his recurring thought was: "This bears no resemblance to me, and I really wish they would write me a better part. Because I don't want to be this guy," he told the paper.

These days, the star of the much anticipated "Gone Girl" is taking the "downs" in stride with the "ups."

"The world is more naturally full of nos than they are with yeses," Affleck told the Times. "And, in fact, the yeses are so rare. I have to make peace with it. I don't always succeed. All these phases of life I've found are challenging in their own way. You keep running into new versions of yourself, and having to acclimate to that."