Ben Affleck: How Blake Lively 'Made Me Feel Old'

Ben Affleck and Blake Lively at Warner Bros. premiere of 'The Town' at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 11, 2010 Ben Affleck and Blake Lively at Warner Bros. premiere of 'The Town' at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 11, 2010

Ben Affleck was recently forced to face the fact that he’s getting older, thanks to his “The Town” co-star Blake Lively.

“When I was doing ‘The Town,’ I’d tour the actors around Boston. I was with Blake, and I saw Matt [Damon’s] childhood home. And I said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s where Matt grew up,’” Ben told Details magazine’s October issue. “[Blake] said, ‘Who?’ And I said, ‘Matt Damon. And she said, ‘Oh my God! You know Jason Bourne?!’”

Despite Ben and Matt’s storied history (the two burst onto the Hollywood scene together in 1997, winning an Oscar for their “Good Will Hunting” screenplay), Ben, 40, said Blake, now 25, was genuinely clueless about he and Matt’s working relationship and famed friendship.

“She really didn’t know,” he continued. “And I thought, ‘There it is. The first age of people who are adults who missed the whole Matt-and-Ben propaganda campaign!’ Mostly, it just made me feel old.”

Helping to take the sting out of aging for Ben is the fact that he now knows how to stay out of the spotlight and make wise decisions when it comes to signing on for projects.

“I made a bunch of movies that didn’t work. I was ending up in the tabloids. I don’t know what the lesson is, except that you just have to find your compass,” he told the mag.

After a string of box office flops (“Gigli,” “Daredevil”) and a broken engagement with Jennifer Lopez, Ben decided to back away from acting and concentrate on directing.

“I just said, ‘I don’t want to do it anymore. This is horrible. I don’t want to be in this spotlight, this glare, in this way. It’s tawdry, it’s ugly, it’s oppressive, and it’s inane. So I’m going to try to get away,’” he said.

The actor, currently starring in his self-directed film, “Argo,” is now the proud father of three kids with wife Jennifer Garner, who he credits with helping him stay focused when he’s stressed about work.

“My wife’s very patient. She does everything,” he said. “If I have time, I try to spend time with the kids, even if just to be a physical presence, the bath, whatever. But my mind’s always going, ‘How are we going to light that shot tomorrow? What’s the master shot for that scene? Is there even going to be a master?’ Just ruminating endlessly.

“Because for me — I wish it was discipline or being a great artist,” he added. “But it’s just anxiety.”

“Argo” hits theaters on October 12.

-- Erin O’Sullivan

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