To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mallrats, Kevin Smith sat down with Entertainment Weekly to break down the making of his sophomore film, and how it went from a critical, box-office dud in 1995 to a beloved cult classic. While discussing the casting of the film, which included a revolving door of the hottest young actors in Hollywood at the time (“Reese Witherspoon came in on f—ing Mallrats, go figure.”), Smith revealed that one very specific actor was on Universal’s radar, and not in a good way. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? Guy by the name of Ben Affleck?
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.”
As Mallrats fans know, Affleck ended up in the movie and was a staple in Smith’s films until Jersey Girl became a box office and tabloid disaster in 2004. (Affleck had convinced Smith to cast his then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez. It was a whole thing.) However, at the time of the Mallrats casting, Affleck had just sold Good Will Hunting to Castle Rock, which presumably greased the wheels on getting him in the film. Except, at that point, Smith couldn’t help but wonder why Affleck even wanted the part.
“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.”
Despite Mallrats being an unfortunate dud for Smith following the indy success of Clerks, Affleck’s career continued to rise as he went on to become a blockbuster action star thanks to… Michael Bay’s Armageddon. Things worked out okay for everyone. That’s the point.
(Via Entertainment Weekly)