Today the world knows Ben Affleck as an Oscar-winning filmmaker and blockbuster leading man. But before he played iconic main roles like Batman, Affleck was a struggling actor looking for any movie role he could find. That was the time when Kevin Smith was casting roles for his eventual cult hit movie Mallrats. While Affleck auditioned for the film along with a bunch of other up-and-coming actors, Smith revealed to EW that Affleck almost lost the role before even auditioning because of his reputation for being a "potty mouth".
"I remember Jim Jacks, the producer, said, "There's a guy coming in today and I don't want him in the movie." I said, "Who is it?" And he goes, "Ben Affleck. He was in Dazed and Confused and he's got a real potty mouth." He goes, "There were a lot of 'f---s' and curses in that script already and then Ben threw in like hundreds more." So, I said, "Well, there's a lot of cursing in our script." He goes, "Yeah, and if you bring this guy in, he'll keep adding more curses, so I don't want him in the movie, he's got a potty mouth." I said, "Okay."
While Ben Affleck would no doubt have been disheartened had he heard the conversation around him that the casting team for Mallrats was indulging in, the actor had reason to celebrate as well. It was during the audition process for Smith's movie that Good Will Hunting, which Affleck co-wrote with Matt Damon and was attached to star in, was sold to a studio after years of effort. According to Smith, the sale of his script did not affect Affleck's dedication to trying out for other movies.
"Ben came in and the day he auditioned was the day they announced the sale of Good Will Hunting to Castle Rock. I said, "Why are you auditioning for this movie, man?" And he's like, "I still want to act!" I was like "Alright, man, let's see what you got." He was big. Ben's a tall f---ing dude. He read for TS, just like every other guy, but right away I was like, well, I know he played a bully in Dazed and Confused but he would be great as Shannon. And then Jacks was like, "Come on, man! He's going to potty the movie up!" I was like, "Too late, Jim," and Ben joined our party."
Affleck was eventually cast in Mallrats in the role of the bully Shannon Hamilton. The movie, along with the breakout success of Good Will Hunting, established Affleck as one of Hollywood's hottest young talents. While the actor has since become a big name star, he does not appear to have forgotten his roots. Smith confirmed that the upcoming low-budget Mallrats sequel Twilight of the Mallrats will feature Affleck in an extensive role, something that the actor specifically asked for.
"[Ben Affleck] cameo-ed in [Jay and Silent Bob] Reboot, far more than a cameo, but we were texting, and I was just like ... He had mentioned Mallrats because he mentioned his oldest daughter makes fun of him for Mallrats because of how he's dressed in the movie... She's like, 'Where'd you get those clothes?' He's like, 'I don't know.' So I was like, 'Well, you'll be able to tell her that you're in the next Mallrats if you want to come out and cameo.' And he was like, 'She likes it too much. Better be more than one scene cameo, dude. Put me in a lot.' I said, 'All right, done and done.'"
This news first appeared at Entertainment Weekly.