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Ben Affleck And Matt Damon Explained How Writing "Good Will Hunting" Nearly Ruined Their Friendship And Revealed Why It Took Them 25 Years To Work Together Again
"Good Will Hunting took us so long...we were, like, unemployed, broke guys."
They're two of Hollywood's biggest names — who also happen to be lifelong BFFs.
And in an industry filled with love stories, Matt and Ben's bromance is pretty hard to beat.
However, even the best of friendships are put to the test, and the duo just opened up about how the lengthy process of writing their Oscar-winning screenplay for Good Will Hunting almost put their partnership in jeopardy.
But first, allow me to explain how one of Hollywood's most iconic bromances came to be.
Ben and Matt first met in the 1980s after being introduced by their moms when they were ages 8 and 10, respectively.
The pair actually lived two blocks away from each other in Massachusetts and instantly hit it off, bonding over their shared loves of sports and acting.
"Before Matt, I was by myself," Ben recalled of their early days. "Acting was a solo activity where I'd just go off and do something, act in a little TV show or something, and no one understood it. All of a sudden, I had this friend, Matt, and he gets it and wants to do it and thinks it's interesting and wants to talk about it. Soon both of us are doing it."
In fact, Matt recalled the exact moment in school that their friendship was cemented: when Ben bravely came to his defense during a fight. In an interview in 2019, Matt told Conan O'Brien that from that moment, he knew that Ben "was a good friend to have."
Later down the line, Ben — who already had an agent — helped Matt find representation to kick-start their careers, and they began to attend auditions together. But it wasn’t long before the duo teamed up for a project of their own.
After a string of movie roles in the 90s, the two eventually moved in together and got to work on writing their first original screenplay for a little film called Good Will Hunting.
As I'm sure you know, Good Will Hunting was a pretty huge success for Matt and Ben, and they swiftly shot to stardom in 1997 after the movie was awarded a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Screenplay.
If you've not seen the film, Matt and Ben star as best friends, with Matt taking on the title role of Will Hunting. They were also joined by Robin Williams, who went on to win an Oscar for his performance.
Ben and Matt became household names as a result, and despite their countless other projects in the decades since, it's still what many people know them best for.
So, flash forward over 20 years, and Matt and Ben have teamed up once again for their second co-writing endeavor, The Last Duel.
Despite the two actors maintaining a close relationship over the decades, this marks the first time that Matt and Ben have written a script together since Good Will Hunting, which they wrote back in 1996.
The new film is a historical drama in which co-writers Ben and Matt star alongside Jodie Comer and Adam Driver. It's set to premiere this Friday.
Speaking about their new project on The Tonight Show on Wednesday, Matt explained that — in spite of its success — writing the script for Good Will Hunting wasn't all plain sailing. He revealed that the lengthy process nearly killed the writing partnership between him and Ben.
"I mean, I think Good Will Hunting took us so long. We were, like, unemployed, broke guys," Matt explained when asked why it took 25 years for the duo to collaborate again. "It took us forever to write that screenplay."
"I think we wrote thousands and thousands of pages. I don't think we really knew what we were doing," he added. "I think that kind of put us off writing again, because we never thought we'd have the time."
However, Matt went on to credit their decades of experience in the film industry for helping things go a little more smoothly the second time around.
"I think we found writing this that we actually kind of picked up structure over the last 25 years of kind of making movies, and so it went a lot faster," the actor explained of the new project.
However, the success of The Last Duel script wasn't without a helping hand. The pair were joined on The Tonight Show by co-writer Nicole Holofcener, who was enlisted by Matt and Ben to offer "female perspective" on the screenplay.
And what's more, this revelation comes just days after the pair attracted a lot of attention after revealing that they had been set to share their very first onscreen kiss in an earlier adaption of The Last Duel script.
Matt's character was originally intended to kiss Ben's in the movie, which focuses on the last legally sanctioned duel in France's history. During this time period, sharing a kiss was customary to start the ceremony.
"In the original actual version of that scene...the way that ceremony actually took place was that you kissed everybody on the mouth," Ben said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight last week. "And we had that in the script."
However, it sadly wasn't meant to be, as the film's director, Ridley Scott, ultimately made the call to cut to kiss, wary that it might distract from the rest of the scene.
Yet all hope is not lost for Ben and Matt, with the Gone Girl actor adding that the duo's first onscreen kiss "is going to have to wait" for their next co-writing endeavor.
We hope we won't have to wait another 25 years before then.