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Wednesday 23rd March, 2005
After hitting a rough patch acting-wise with the likes of the excerable “Gigli” and the box-office/critical disappointments Paycheck, Jersey Girl and Surviving Christmas, Affleck has decided to try his luck at something other than poker and will go behind the camera for the first time. (Don’t forget his losing bet at the elections as well, Ed.)

Disney confirmed Tuesday that Affleck will make his feature film directing debut this fall on Touchstone Pictures' Gone, Baby, Gone. Based on the best-selling novel by Dennis Lehane.

The mystery/thriller centers on two private dicks searching for a kidnapped four-year-old girl in working-class Boston. One of Lehane's other Boston-based novels, Mystic River, was turned into Oscar-worthy fare by another actor-turned-director, Clint Eastwood.

Affleck, 32, will not star in the film, but he will direct from his own screenplay. Lest we forget, the former Jennifer Lopez flame used to be known for more than his feature film flops and tabloid romps; he and pal Matt Damon won a Best Screenplay Oscar for 1997's Good Will Hunting--also set in Affleck's beloved Boston.

Shooting will take place this autumn in Ben's native Beantown, most likely the working-class Dorchester neighborhood where much of Lehane's novel takes place.

Affleck hit box-office gold with films like Armageddon and Pearl Harbor, and more recently The Sum of All Fears and even Daredevil, but lately has been mining nothing but bad movie karma, fueled by the Gigli debacle and off-screen focus on his Bennifer rise and demise.

In recent months he has made news for winning the California state poker championship, cheering on the Red Sox and the sore loser and proven liar John Kerry.

He's also rubbed knees
with the aliasistic Jennifer Garner.

Just because Affleck's going behind the scenes, doesn't mean we won't be seeing him anymore.

He's currently appearing on the small screen in the third season of Project Greenlight, airing on Bravo (he and Damon just optioned one of the losing scripts, Does Anybody Here Remember When Hanz Gubenstein Invented Time Travel?, for possible production).

And he has signed on for a couple of films, Man About Town and Truth, Justice and the American Way, due in 2005 and 2006, respectively.

"Whaddya mean my acting career just crashed and burned?"

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