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Affleck says 'Jersey Girl' not 'Gigli' redux

New film won't be marketed as Ben-and-Jen project
/ Source: The Associated Press

Ben Affleck is fairly sure the ad campaign for his next movie won’t proclaim “Affleck and Lopez, together again.”

While real-life sweethearts Affleck and Jennifer Lopez co-star in the upcoming “Jersey Girl,” their on-screen collaboration won’t be a selling point after their colossal bomb “Gigli” last summer.

The failure of “Gigli” actually might benefit “Jersey Girl,” the story of a widowed father bringing up a daughter, Affleck said.

“The one thing it prevents from happening is for the marketing people to sell it in a dishonest way,” Affleck told The Associated Press on Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival, where he plugged his filmmaking TV series “Project Greenlight.”

“They’re not going to be so eager to sell it as a Ben-and-Jen movie. They can actually sell it for what it actually is, which is a movie about me and a young girl, and me trying to raise her.”

Lopez has a cameo as the wife of Affleck’s character, but she dies 12 minutes into the movie, Affleck said. “Jersey Girl” opens in March.

Affleck and Lopez planned to marry in real life last September but postponed the wedding, citing paparazzi overkill. Rumors about their relationship continued to circulate, but Affleck said “everything’s going along fine. We’re good.”

On the marriage front, “There’s nothing to report,” he said.

Just as he hopes for better commercial returns on “Jersey Girl,” Affleck is aiming for stronger results in the next installment of “Project Greenlight,” a contest that he, pal Matt Damon and producing partner Chris Moore created to give young filmmakers a start in the business.

Filmmakers are given about $1 million to make a movie, with the TV show chronicling their efforts. The first two “Project Greenlight” movies — “Stolen Summer” and “The Battle of Shaker Heights” — were coming-of-age stories that fizzled at the box office.

HBO dropped the show last fall, but the Bravo network has picked it up for a third season. Affleck said the next movie will be more commercial, possibly a comedy or horror flick.

“We’ve kind of shown the independent side of filmmaking. Now we want to show more of the money side. The fact is, that that’s really a very powerful force in making movies. People interested in this business should understand that,” Affleck said.