Ben Affleck almost directed 'Homeland' pilot

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When Ben Affleck received the Career Achievement Award from Jeremy Renner at the Casting Society of America’s annual Artios Awards on Oct. 29 at the Beverly Hilton, he told an interesting story about first agreeing to direct the pilot of Homeland, then having to pass. He said he and wife Jennifer Garner have a deal where they make family compromises on accepting work. She had an opportunity to do a film; he’d have to be in North Carolina to do Homeland; it was his turn to be with the kids, so he dropped out from directing what became a major hit.

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

What prompted Affleck to tell the story was Libby Goldstein, who had worked on casting Homeland, reading a really clever poem that told the story of how having Affleck attached to the project brought in great talent. A sample couplet was: “Ben? Everyone said/He’s directing the show? Well here is my “A” list this things gonna go.” It got the biggest response from the crowd the entire night. (The entire poem is below.)

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Affleck’s speech came toward the end of the dinner emceed by Nicole Sullivan with presentations in 23 categories by Anna Kendrick, Armie Hammer, Jean Smart, Nat Faxon, Atticus Shaffer, Michael Hoffman and Cedric the Entertainer. Special presentations were made to Lora Kennedy, who received the Hoyt Bowers Award; and to Harvey Fierstein, who was given the New York Apple Award. (The CSA usually has it award dinner on the same night in both L.A. and New York, but the situation with Hurricane Sandy prevented that from happening.)

2012 Artios Award nominations and winners for Outstanding Achievement in Casting

And here is the poem Libby Goldstein read about Ben Affleck and Homeland:

When we met for the job we asked who was going to direct
And both Howard and Alex answered who else? Ben Affleck.
Ben? We both said
Could it be? Is it true?
Uh huh, Alex said –
Oh wow – what a coupe
So we put out the word
Kinda casual and cool
And got all of you guys to submit like a fool
Ben? Everyone said
He’s directing the show?
Well here is my “A” list this things gonna go.
And week after week we said….. ben, ben, ben, ben
then one fine day
We heard something about………..Jen!
She had gotten a film or some sort of thing
And she wanted him home …. Well she does has the ring!
Or maybe it was ARGO that put an end to our plan
Whatever it was - it ended bing, bang, boom, bam!
But, by then no matter the die had been cast
Just the fact that Ben might have was all we could ask
So here’s some advice when you all get a show
Just say Ben is directing, who’ll ever know?
And right before you have to ….
Say “it’s something about jen”
the stamp of approval will already have been gotten from ben.
And whose laughing now?
Michael cuesta for sure
The back up to ben
Whose got cudos galore
So – a toast to ben
For all that he did
And the whole thing was free
Take that WME!!!!
And by the way – thank you all for this.

Watch the Season 2 premiere of "Homeland":