Ben Affleck had to undergo a bit of a transformation when he landed the role of an oil driller in the 1998 blockbuster sci-fi film Armageddon. Appearing on the cover of Entertainment Weekly's February issue, the actor sat down and chatted with longtime friend and frequent collaborator Matt Damon about his decades-long career, even taking a moment to reflect on the requirements he had to meet, which involved being "sexy" and fixing his teeth, before appearing in the hit movie.
Affleck admitted that at the time he signed on to join the film, he was "a little naive about the opinions people would form about me. Or [director] Michael [Bay] and [producer] Jerry [Bruckheimer]'s focus on aesthetics, like, 'You guys gotta go to the tanning bed!'" Affleck recalled how Bay and Bruckheimer "made me fix my teeth and work out and be sexy," quipping, "'be sexy, how do I do that?" Affleck said to achieve the desired look involved him going to the gym, sharing, "running in the gym and putting oil on my body and stuff, and it just turned out to be a long-form version of one of those male topless calendars, in a garage, carrying a tire, kind of greased up."
According to Affleck, Bay "had a vision of a glistening male torso in the oil, and he was like, 'That's going to go in the trailer and sell tickets!' And you know, what can you say? We could have made, I think, 400 Chasing Amys for what we made Armageddon for." While Affleck certainly had to put in a lot of work for the movie, it earned him three very important fans: his children.
"It's funny because that's the one movie of mine that my kids have watched and they'll kind of all admit to liking, even though they relentlessly mock it and me. 'What are you, driving a tank on the moon?'" he told Damon. "But they had fun, you know what I mean? They won't even watch The Town. So there you have it."
Released in 1998, Armageddon centered around a group of blue-collar deep-core drillers sent by NASA to stop a gigantic asteroid on a collision course with Earth. In addition to Affleck, the movie starred Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Will Patton, Peter Stormare, Keith David, and Steve Buscemi. The film was a blockbuster hit, grossing $553 million worldwide and becoming the highest-grossing film of 1998.
Fans can next catch Affleck in The Tender Bar. Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, the coming-of-age film, an adaptation of the 2005 memoir of the same name by J. R. Moehringer, recounts Moehringer's life growing up on Long Island. Along with Affleck, The Tender Bar also stars Tye Sheridan, Daniel Ranieri, Lily Rabe, and Christopher Lloyd.