Thursday, April 18, 2024

Affleck, Affleck, Affleck! Of all Cambridge celebrities, Ben Affleck continues to get the most press. Among the more interesting and less gossipy items: While getting the Casting Society of America’s Career Achievement Award (from presenter Jeremy Renner, who acted in Affleck’s “The Town”) Oct. 29 at the annual Artios Awards ceremony, Affleck joked that he hates the Emmy Award-winning suspense drama “Homeland.”

He’d liked the show and been attached to direct, and casting director Libby Goldstein told the crowd his name had been key in getting other talent to commit — but he dropped out because of an agreement with wife Jennifer Garner that only one would work at a time while the other was taking care of their three kids, and she was filming “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” for 10 days in Atlanta. The Hollywood Reporter was first with the story.

“I was sure nothing would happen with the show,” said Affleck, to laughter from the crowd. “Now I hate the fucking show. I’ve never seen it. I’m going to attach myself to 14 pilots this year.”

In more self-deprecation, the Monsters and Critics blog recounted Affleck’s musings on how things have changed now that he’s a director. “I’m not one of the guys any more. I remember I was walking over to the [“Argo” actors] and I heard one of the guys talking about getting stoned — I think somebody had brought something into the house — and as I arrived everybody clammed up. I thought, ‘When did I become this guy? What am I, the dad?’ I’m an asshole all of a sudden,” Affleck said.

Forbes also considers Affleck an interesting choice to direct the next “Star Wars” film now that Disney has taken over from George Lucas in a $4 billion deal (Affleck already turned down “Justice League,” but who knows?); and Cinemablend says “Twilight” star Kristen Stewart is in talks to join Affleck in “Focus,” in which he’s to star as a con man who gets entangled romantically with a female grifter.

Comedian Lenny Clarke is stumping for U.S. Sen. Scott Brown’s reelection campaign. No surprise. He endorsed the Republican back in 2010.

Matt Damon is being named to star as bicyclist Lance Armstrong. Now that Armstrong has been stripped his titles (and charity chairmanship and millions in endorsements) after declining to fight doping charges, the book “The Secret Race” by cyclist Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle is heading toward filming. Damon was once expected to star as Armstrong in a film of another book, “It’s Not About The Bike,” which Armstrong wrote with Sally Jenkins, noted. (The role went to Jake Gyllenhaal, then disappeared along with hopes for the film itself.)

John Malkovich continues to choose interesting roles. In February he’ll be taking to the stage with “The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a Serial Killer” in Chicago, which WBEZ-FM notes “is staged for a Baroque orchestra with period instruments, two sopranos and one actor. It tells the true story of Austrian serial murderer and writer Jack Unterweger (Malkovich) through chapters of spoken dialogue, each concluded with arias by Gluck, Vivaldi, Beethoven and others.” The Chicago Symphony Orchestra says it’s not recommended for children under the age of 13.

Electropop outfit Passion Pit, meanwhile, is taking to public radio with another kind of passion as it tours behind “Gossamer,” its most recent album. On Monday it did a Tiny Desk Concert at National Public Radio headquarters in Washington, D.C.; the next day the band went to St. Paul, Minn., and performed a set in the studios of 89.3 The Current.

When the band moved on to Detroit, bassist Jeff Apruzzese talked with Free Press special writer Martin Bandyke, giving some detail about how the band works. “Michael Angelakos does the bulk of Passion Pit’s studio recordings, which sound very complex in terms of multiple overdubs and production wizardry,” Bandyke asked. “How challenging is it to translate this to a live setting?”

Apruzzese’s reply:

With “Manners” there were a lot of layers, but nothing compared to “Gossamer.” It’s a joke, really, as these new songs have up to a hundred tracks apiece, covering each other up and making them hard to pick apart. The vocals are doubled and tripled at times, and it was difficult at first to figure out how to make it sound as full live as it does on the record. There was a lot of trial and error, and we’re just now feeling comfortable integrating these songs into the set. Actually we change the set list every single day trying to figure out what works best. We work a lot on how we can approach each song and tie them together to make it a show and a performance.