In 1998, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon won that year’s Oscar for Best Screenplay for the 1997 film “Good Will Hunting,” giving the well experienced but virtually unknown actors the fame they had craved since coming to Hollywood. Not only did they demonstrate their acting talent but their writing talent as well. Since then, the public has been wondering when the two are going to team up to write another award-winning script. Recently, the rumor has spread that they are going to begin working on another project. The two also hope to co-direct a film as well. It will be Damon’s directorial debut while Affleck has directed two pictures, 1993’s, I Killed My Girlfriend, Hung Her on a Meat Hook, And Now I Have a Three Picture Deal at Sony, and his just finished second film Gone, Baby, Gone.

This announcement will be good news for fans of the long time friends. The two are now superstars in Hollywood who have captured a wide range of fans. While their success seemed to be an overnight occurrence, the two have worked hard to get to where they are now. Affleck and Damon met as kids. Damon was born and had grown up in the Cambridge area of Boston, Massachusetts to Kent Damon, an investment banker and tax preparer and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, an Early Education Professor at Lesley College. He also has an older brother, Kyle, who is a sculptor. At age 10 he met 8-year-old Ben Affleck who had been born in Berkeley, California and moved to Cambridge at an early age. His father, Tim was an actor and director. His mother, Chris, was a schoolteacher. Ben and Matt became fast friends and were said to have done everything together.

Both boys were into acting. Ben had appeared in Burger King commercials and made an appearance in “The Voyage Of The Mimi” mini-series. That year, his parents divorced due to his father’s drinking problem which put his acting career on hold. At age 16, Matt decided to move to New York to pursue acting as well. His parents refused to fund the trip, making it clear that they wanted him to first finish his education. Damon had come into some money however, and he and Affleck put it into a joint account to use for audition expenses.

In New York, Affleck introduced Damon to his agent who helped cast him in Mystic Pizza with Julia Roberts. He later returned home to finish out his schooling. He earned straight A’s in high school and was accepted to Harvard University hoping to later transfer to the Yale School of Drama. Affleck’s B average was not enough to get him into Harvard to join his friend. Instead he enrolled in Vermont College before dropping out after a semester. He decided to move to California and stay with his mother’s friends. Meanwhile, Damon quit Harvard just 12 credits shy of graduation. The two won bit parts in modest films for awhile, neither of them happy with where they were in their careers.

Then Damon remembered a script he had written in Harvard about a math prodigy who works as a janitor at Harvard. He and Affleck began to revise the script, working on it until 1992. They tried selling it, but no major studio would accept it. Then Castle Rock decided that they wanted the movie, but they didn’t want Damon and Affleck to star on it. Since their original intention of selling the script was so that they could launch their acting careers, they turned down Castle Rock’s offer.

Then in 1995, Affleck called on his friend Kevin Smith, with who he had done several indie pictures with, to help them. Smith took their script to Miramax who bought it for $500,000. They managed to get Robin Williams to agree to star in the film and Gus Van Sant directed. The studio also allowed the writers to star in the movie as well. The film was released on Christmas Day in 1997 and was a hit, grossing over $100 million. It was later nominated for nine Oscar nominations including Damon for Best Actor, Williams who won for Best Supporting Actor, and Damon and Affleck who obviously won and shared the Best Screenplay award.

If and when the two decide to write a new movie, they will no longer have to prove themselves as writers or actors. However, they will have to outdo the hype of their screenwriting debut. Whether or not this puts more or less pressure on them will be discovered when the film is finally released. If lightning doesn’t strike twice, they still have their acting careers and the promise of directorial stardom to pursue.

For related articles visit http://www.imdb.com/news/wenn/2007-07-06/#3, http://www.hollywood.com/news/Affleck_and_Damon_to_Team_Up_as_Directors/3600320, http://www.tiscali.co.uk/entertainment/film/biographies/matt_damon_biog/5, and http://www.tiscali.co.uk/entertainment/film/biographies/ben_affleck_biog/4

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