This article originally appeared in
September 5, 2006
Affleck blasts paparazzi for
intrusion into actors' lives
By ERIC J. LYMAN
VENICE, Italy -- Paparazzi are coming
under fire in Venice. Ben Affleck, who
stars in "Hollywoodland" -- the film
about original Superman actor George
Reeves that premiered on the Lido last
Thursday -- used the press conference
to lash out at the photographers eager
to snap his shot.
"I think more and more people pay
attention to actor's private lives (and that)
makes it difficult to suspend disbelief
when you are going to watch their movie
because really what you are thinking
about is whatever you have read about
them in a magazine rather than the
performance they are giving, and it makes the actor's job harder," Affleck
said. "The movies become incidental pit-stops and commercial breaks in
the soap opera of their life."
Affleck's comments sparked a renewed interest in Venice about paparazzi
photographers, who were booed when they appeared on the screen early
during the world premiere of "The Queen" on Saturday -- three days after the
anniversary of Princess Diana's 1997 death. The film is about the friction
between British Premier Tony Blair and the Queen in the wake of the car
crash that ended the princess' life.
Both "Hollywoodland" and "The Queen" are among the 21 films in
competition at this year's festival.
For their part, festival organizers said that despite Affleck's comments, there
appeared to be no increase in paparazzi-related complaints at this year's
"The photographers are doing their job like everyone else at the festival," one
official said. "We haven't received any complaints about inappropriate
behavior" by photographers.
And photographers covering the festival defended their role.
"The photographers in Venice are doing the same exact thing they do at all
festivals," said Geoff Pugh, a three-year Venice veteran with London's Daily
Telegraph. "But I guess people have to complain about something."
But it was actor-director Ethan Hawke -- whose directorial sophomore effort,
"The Hottest State," premiered out of competition on Saturday -- who tried to
put the issue in perspective when he was questioned about attention from
photographers at the press conference for his film.
"If the paparazzi are bothering you," Hawke said, "it probably means you are
having a pretty wonderful life."
Ben Affleck as George Reeves in
Allen Coulter's Hollywoodland.