Ben Affleck knows how to turn on the charm with a lopsided smile, but he also knows what it feels like to be hounded by the press over his personal life, and both of those things helped him when it came time to portray a grief-stricken husband in Gone Girl.
The film–based on the bestselling novel by Gillian Flynn and directed by David Fincher–tells the story of a man who has just uprooted his wife Amy in order to move back to his childhood town, only to have her disappear one day from their home with telltale signs of a struggle. As he’s drawn into an increasingly crazy mystery surrounding his wife’s life up to the day of her disappearance, he also becomes a suspect and the person the town points to when it becomes clear that something bad has happened to Amy.
“It wasn’t something I had to do a lot of research for. I knew what it was like to have the tabloid world paying attention to me and ascribing negative motivations to whatever I might be engaging in. I knew what it was to be cast in a soap opera I had no control over,” Affleck said.
Those who have read the book can see from the trailer that it appears to hold pretty closely to Flynn’s story, and Affleck is the perfect actor to play Nick Dunne, a handsome guy, aloof at times, charming, seemingly unsure of just how bad everything around him has gotten because he’s never had to answer for anything. Fincher knew from the start he had his guy.
“We knew we needed somebody who was charming and could be seductive, who could be a ladies man, a guy’s guy, a frat boy,” Fincher says. “But most important, [someone] who had the wits and experience of knowing that situation. The gift of having Ben Affleck is that this is a guy who knows,” Fincher said.