It turns out Ben Affleck has a sense of humor after becoming one of the most talked about internet memes in 2016 for his “Sad Affleck” video. Though he now says it’s “funny” to him today, he worries about how forlorn he appeared in the meme would make the three children, whom he shares with ex-wife Jennifer Garner, worry about him.
“I got to a place where [the public perception] was so different from who I am that I just stopped reading and stopped caring,” he recently told the Los Angeles Times.
“As my kids got older and started seeing the internet themselves, that’s the difficult part,” he continued about daughters Violet, 16, Seraphina, 13, and son Samuel, 9. “Even the ‘Sad Affleck’ meme — that was funny to me. I mean, there’s nobody who hasn’t felt that way at a junket. But then my kids see it and I think, ‘Oh, are they going to think their dad is fundamentally sad or they have to worry about me?’ That’s really tough.”
The origin of the meme was during the March 2016 press junket for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where Ben was paired with costar Henry Cavill for the media interviews. When one reporter asked the men how they felt about critics giving the film poor reviews, Henry took the lead on answering the question as Ben stared away with watery eyes and a devastated expression. It was during a time of turmoil in Ben’s life, after his 2015 separation from Garner and before his two trips to rehab for alcohol addiction, in 2017 and 2018.
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One intrepid internet user zeroed on Ben’s mental moment of checking out of the interview into what seemed like a faraway moment of anguish. It was set to Simon and Garfunkel’s melancholy classic, “The Sound of Silence,” with the heartbreaking opening lyrics, “Hello darkness my old friend / I’ve come to talk to you again,” synching perfectly with Ben’s expression. “Sad Affleck” went on to trend on Twitter and to this day, is still one of social media’s most popular memes.
With how great Ben feels today amid his romance with former fiancée Jennifer Lopez entering a new year, “Sad Affleck” won’t likely have an internet sequel. “I’m really happy now, and I feel great,” he told the publication. “I’m not perfect. I don’t do everything right. But I wake up and feel good about the choices I made the day before, and if I don’t, I address it right away. I’ve got to hope and believe that people will still like the movies I make if I’m not in the midst of something they think of as agonizing.”
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