Ben Affleck / The Boston Globe

Affleck reflects on the role of newspapers
By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
April 15, 2009
bostoncom751:http://www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/articles/2009/04/15/affleck_reflects_on_the_role_of_newspapers/
Even before “State of Play,” his new movie celebrating the watchdog role of newspapers, Ben Affleck was partial to print. He grew up a reader of The Boston Globe and can’t imagine his hometown paper going out of business.
“I was definitely shocked to hear about the Globe,” the actor told us, referring to The New York Times Co.’s threat to shutter New England’s newspaper of record unless it gets concessions from the paper’s unions. “I fundamentally misunderstood what was going on. Boston.com has 5.6 million readers a month, and yet this hugely successful news gathering operation is going out of business.” (For the record, Boston.com had 5.7 million unique visitors last month.)
Affleck, who’s in town filming “The Company Men” with Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, and Chris Cooper, has been thinking a lot about the fate of newspapers since filming “State of Play,” in which he plays an up-and-coming congressman who tangles with a tenacious reporter played by Russell Crowe.
“Part of the erosion of newspapers is about new media, but part of it is newspapers’ own fault,” Affleck said. “I think the public has felt let down by The New York Times and others for not asking the tough questions, whether about the Iraq war or the subprime issue. The job of the fourth estate is to stand outside the vested interests and say, ‘Wait a minute, this isn’t viable.’ “
In “The Company Men,” Affleck plays a corporate hotshot whose six-figure salary vanishes when he suddenly loses his job. He said reading about the Globe’s travails has been good research for his role in the downsizing drama.

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  1. Ben Affleck / The Boston Globe Affleck reflects on the role of newspapersBy Mark Shanahan & Meredith GoldsteinApril 15, 2009bostoncom751:http://www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/articles/2009/04/15/affleck_reflects_on_the_role_of_newspapers/Even before "State of Play," his new movie celebrating the watchdog role of newspapers, Ben Affleck was partial to print. He grew up a reader of The Boston Globe and can't imagine his hometown paper going out of business."I was definitely shocked to hear about the Globe," the actor told us, referring to The New York Times Co.'s threat to shutter New England's newspaper of record unless it gets concessions from the paper's unions. "I fundamentally misunderstood what was going on. Boston.com has 5.6 million readers a month, and yet this hugely successful news gathering operation is going out of business." (For the record, Boston.com had 5.7 million unique visitors last month.)Affleck, who's in town filming "The Company Men" with Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, and Chris Cooper, has been thinking a lot about the fate of newspapers since filming "State of Play," in which he plays an up-and-coming congressman who tangles with a tenacious reporter played by Russell Crowe."Part of the erosion of newspapers is about new media, but part of it is newspapers' own fault," Affleck said. "I think the public has felt let down by The New York Times and others for not asking the tough questions, whether about the Iraq war or the subprime issue. The job of the fourth estate is to stand outside the vested interests and say, 'Wait a minute, this isn't viable.' "In "The Company Men," Affleck plays a corporate hotshot whose six-figure salary vanishes when he suddenly loses his job. He said reading about the Globe's travails has been good research for his role in the downsizing drama."It's kind of symbolic," he said. "Whatever happens – tragic events, mismanagement, economic crisis – who's asked to foot the bill? The workers. They always come to the people who are working."Yesterday, Affleck and Costner were again filming scenes in the Fort Hill section of Roxbury. Costner plays a construction worker who lends a helping hand to his laid-off brother-in-law, played by Ben."It's a story that revolves around what's going on now without being didactic," Affleck said. "It's not an Upton Sinclair adaptation, but the themes have to do with the American workers' relationship to the companies that employ them."It's one of several projects he's working on. The Cambridge-bred actor just wrapped a promising comedy called "Extract" directed by "Beavis and Butt-head" creator Mike Judge."I took a big swing . . . I mean, I like Mike Judge a lot, and he said, 'If it's not good, that's OK because no one will see it,' " Affleck said, laughing. "But that never seems to happen with me."He's also getting ready to direct and star in the big-screen version of Chuck Hogan's Charlestown-based book "The Prince of Thieves." That'll roll at the end of August, which means he'll be around for almost the entire Red Sox season.Continued…"I want to go see the Celtics and Bruins, too," Affleck said.The Bruins? All of a sudden, he's a Bruins fan?"I'm a total bandwagon jumper," Affleck said, "and the Bruins are really good this year."Wahlberg, Fey have a 'Date'Do Mark Wahlberg and Tina Fey have chemistry? We'll find out on screen. The Boston boy has joined the cast of the all-star comedy "Date Night," which will star Fey and Steve Carell as a couple whose plan for a romantic evening goes terribly wrong. Rounding out the cast of folks who mess up their night are James Franco, Kristin Wiig, Common, "Gossip Girl" vixen Leighton Meester (she plays the couple's baby sitter), and "Benjamin Button" actress Taraji P. Henson. Wahlberg will play a security guy who has the hots for Fey.Fan favoritePats fans at CBS Scene last night got some face time on the NFL Network. As part of a prime-time special announcing the NFL schedule, NFL Network (and former NESN) reporter Kara Henderson interviewed devoted New Englanders during the broadcast. For more on the NFL schedule, see Sports.She's so unusualOne of the unusuals on the new ABC series "The Unusuals" is Framingham native Monique Curnen (inset), who you may recognize from "Half Nelson," "The Dark Knight," "Che," "Maria Full of Grace," and "House." Curnen tells us she won't be surprised if this new series about quirky police detectives finally makes her a household name. "Let's hope so. We've been very excited about how smart the writing is and how funny it is." The Framingham High grad doesn't get home much these days, but when she does she spends most of her time with her brothers around Worcester. "Christmas for sure. I mostly just hang out in people's houses, so I don't get out much." Curnen's show, which costars "Traveling Pants" sister Amber Tamblyn and "Hebrew Hammer" Adam Goldberg, has received mixed reviews since it's premiere this month. Curnen says she has her fingers crossed that the show doesn't go the way of the recently canceled "Life on Mars" or "Eli Stone." "I don't know when you're ever safe. No one fully understands the mysteries of television." The third episode of "The Unusuals" airs tonight at 10.Seldes stops in BostonLeading lady of the stage Marian Seldes was at Emerson yesterday. The five-time Tony nominee talked about her long-running roles in "Deathtrap" and "Equus," in which she shared the stage with Anthony Hopkins, Richard Burton, and Anthony Perkins. Yes, she saw the play's revival and was impressed with Daniel Radcliffe. "But I haven't seen the young man's films," she said with a sly grin, referring to the hugely popular "Harry Potter" franchise. "I'm too busy going to the theater." . . . Revolution head coach and Liverpool legend Steve Nichol stopped by McGreevy's yesterday to watch the Liverpool vs. Chelsea match with bar owners Ken Casey and Davy Keville.

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