HOLLYWOOD Secrets, Rumors and Truths a B-List actor’s Memoir
Ben Affleck was about to be fired from the HBO special we had both been cast in, but I don’t know if he knew it yet. This was for the HBO special ‘A Body to Die For.’ I had just returned from shooting a film in Romania and auditioned for the role of a drug dealer supplying steroids to high school students, a supporting role, and I got it. Yay! But my agent told me that they actually wanted me to play the lead character. Why? Because the premise of the show was that the lead character, a football player, takes steroids (sold to him by my character) and gets really buff by the end of the show. However, Ben wasn’t very buff and I had just come back from shooting an action film, working out like a madman. So, they offered me the lead role and wanted me to wear baggy clothes for the first half of the show then tighter and tighter clothes, until revealing the effect steroids had on the football player’s body. Look, I didn’t’ know Ben but I didn’t think it was very fair. Also, as the drug dealer, I was playing an older character and Ben’s character was in high school. I think I was thirty years old at the time so I said no. Ben played the high school jock and I played the drug dealer. I never told Ben about what the producers wanted to do. But he told me something very interesting. Apparently, Ben and his friend Matt were writing a movie and hoping to get it sold. It looked good he said. I nodded, supported his dream while figuring, hey, we all write scripts. I had been writing for a long time and sold some screenplays in Hollywood but none had been made into features yet. Producers and film companies buy scripts and put the writers through the rewriting nightmare. I had already rewritten several purchased screenplays so many times that I knew the chances of their script getting made was a longshot. So far, my purchased scripts had just sat on the producers and film companies’ shelves gathering dust, never getting made (eventually, a few did get made with Ice T, Eric Roberts, Michael Madison …) but it’s a tough road to sell a script and get it made into a film. So, I patted Ben on the back and wished him well—knowing it would probably never happen, right? I’m an idiot. The movie Ben and Matt were writing was ‘Goodwill Hunting.’ Needless to say, it did okay. And both Ben and Matt quickly became A-Listers. Perhaps I should have taken his role in ‘A Body to Die For.” Nah! For a guy from Welland, Ontario Canada—I did all right.