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  • 01.12.17

#ThrowbackThursday: The Early Work Of “Live By Night’s” Ben Affleck And Zoe Saldana

Before their period mobster drama, Ben was directing something just flat-out tragic and Zoe was getting carjacked by rapper Nelly.

#ThrowbackThursday: The Early Work Of “Live By Night’s” Ben Affleck And Zoe Saldana

Ben Affleck’s prohibition-era crime drama Live By Night beckons you to “witness the price of the American dream,” which apparently costs a bunch of bullets, a few exploding cafes, and a fleet of destroyed Model Ts. All that mayhem is just dandy, but I’d like to direct your attention to something far more entertaining, namely Affleck’s very first directing credit and his Live By Night co-star Zoe Saldana trying to live her best 2001 life on the mean streets of Philly.

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#TBT to 1993: Ben Affleck’s directorial debut I Killed My Lesbian Wife, Hung Her on a Meathook, and Now I Have a Three-Picture Deal at Disney

Ben Affleck said it himself that the title of his first crack at directing is the best thing about the film. I Killed My Lesbian Wife, Hung Her on a Meathook, and Now I Have a Three-Picture Deal at Disney is Affleck’s 1993 short film that he directed while studying at Occidental College–and the word “cringeworthy” would be the kindest of euphemism to describe it. Granted, anyone’s first foray into anything is bound to be rough. But there’s a particular kind of “ick” with this 15-minute character study of a completely unhinged, misogynistic director who slaughters his wife for allegedly cheating on him with (or just being) a lesbian. “It’s horrible. It’s atrocious,” said Affleck in a 2010 interview with Entertainment Weekly. “I knew I wanted to be a director, and I did a couple of short films, and this is the only one that haunts me. I’m not proud of it. It looks like it was made by someone who has no prospects, no promise.”

Your contrition is duly noted, Affleck.

#TBT to 2001: Zoe Saldana in Snipes

The late ‘90s/early double aughts graciously provided us with a blessed bounty of rappers leading films: DMX and Nas in Belly, Mack 10 and Fat Joe in Thicker Than Water, Snoop Dogg in Bones, Method Man and Redman in How High, and lest we forget, but I’m sure you already have, Nelly’s hip-hop thriller Snipes. Fresh off his debut album Country Grammar storming the charts, Nelly decided to take the (melo)dramatic arts for a spin, taking a young Zoe Saldana straight off the cliff with him.

About the author

KC covers entertainment and pop culture for Fast Company. Previously, KC was part of the Emmy Award-winning team at "Good Morning America" where he was the social media producer.

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