Tight political drama State Of Play is in cinemas today, starring the unlikely duo of Ben Affleck and Russell Crowe. The pair are from different acting worlds, but combine surprisingly well to make drama, suspense and other good things happen.
So we got to thinking a ‘what if?’ What if these two actors had always been in each others’ films, instead of each other? Thus we present to you our grand Affleck/Crowe career swap.
Romper Stomper (1992)
Ben Affleck is Hando
Affleck leads a violent gang of Canberra skinheads in this controversial Australian film. Although praised for its gritty storytelling, the film is roundly criticised for lack of authenticity, with Affleck’s refusal to cut his enormous hair a major sticking point.
Chasing Amy (1997)
Russell Crowe is Holden McNeil
Crowe draws comics and tries to seduce a lesbian in this witty indie romance. Audiences love the on-the-pulse gen-x dialogue but react badly to Holden’s violent streak: his comic, Lager Murder Punch, seems out of context, and an ending in which the spurned Crowe sets fire to his friend Binky has to be reshot.
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Ben Affleck is Bud White
Affleck cracks heads and furrows his brow in this complex cop thriller. Love scenes between Affleck and Kim Basinger trigger unintended laughter in test audiences, and the star’s slight Bud White fails to survive the climactic shoot out.
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Russell Crowe is Chuckie Sullivan
Crowe provides wry urban wisdom for his friend Matt Damon in this inspirational drama. Things are going well until the mid-way point when the script, co-written by Crowe, veers wildly off course and has Chuckie developing his own savant maths powers, as well as a trio of imaginary friends played by Paul Bettany, Ed Harris, and a little girl.
The Insider (1999)
Ben Affleck is Jeffrey Wigand
Affleck plays tobacco industry whistleblower Wigand in this tense conspiratorial thriller. The star piles on the weight for the role with disastrous results: it looks like you could lose a finger in his chin dimple, and repulsed audiences make the film a flop.
Russell Crowe is A.J. Frost
Crowe plays oil-rigger A.J. in this blockbuster action romance. The film is a huge hit but critics tag the ending, in which Crowe punches the meteor back into space and gets drunk with Bruce Willis, as an ‘emotional disappointment’.
Ben Affleck is Maximus Decimus Meridius
Affleck plays betrayed general and gladiatorial champion Maximus in his genre-reviving sword and sandal epic. The film is a disaster: Joaquin Phoenix’s villain Emperor recognises the masked Maximus immediately thanks to his massive chin, and puts him to death.
Russell Crowe is Matt Murdock
Crowe is blind but fearless lawyer and superhero Matt Murdock, AKA Daredevil. What could have been a dreary flop is livened up by Crowe’s furious watchability, which transforms the plastic Murdock into a tragic revelation. Oscars follow.
Cinderella Man (2005)
Ben Affleck is Jim Braddock
Affleck plays fairytale comeback boxer Jim Braddock in this inspirational depression-era sports drama. The actor trains for months and looks the part, but critics question whether a boxer with a chin like a bullseye painted on their face could ever really be world champ.
Russell Crowe is Larry Gigli
Crowe plays a tough-talking mob hitman in this knockabout crime hit. Though some call the subject matter and script abhorrent, Crowe manfully wrestles another Oscar-winning triumph out of the material, investing the idiotic Gigli with a vulnerable charisma that audiences fall in love with.