In “Armageddon”, Ben Affleck plays a driller tasked with going into space to pulverize an asteroid after express training from NASA. A concept quite surprising and improbable according to the actor, who annoyed Michael Bay by expressing his doubts about the credibility of the film.
Armageddon : Bruce Willis against an asteroid
After a sporting trip in the heart of New York in A day in hell, a journey through time to avoid a pandemic in The Army of 12 Monkeys and the eradication of the disease in 2263 in The fifth ElementBruce Willis was charged with another perilous mission in 1998. In Armageddon, the star must effectively prevent the extinction of humanity by facing an asteroid heading straight for Earth.
His character Harry Stamper aims to drill a hole in the heart of the planet exterminator and deposit a nuclear charge there that will cause it to deviate from its path. Stamper accepts space travel, but on one condition: that he can take his men. In order to be up to speed, they will benefit from express training from NASA.
With this third feature film, which follows Bad boys and Rock, Michael Bay goes one step further in the mass destruction sequences. Evidenced by the impressive opening, where a meteor shower falls on New York. If he is certainly the man for the job to solve the problem, Bruce Willis is still well surrounded in Armageddon. Liv Tyler, Billy Bob Thornton, Steve Buscemi, Will Patton, William Fichtner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Owen Wilson, Keith David and Peter Stormare complete the cast of the project.
The film also propels Ben Affleck to the forefront. Aware of exuberance and improbability from the movies of Michael Bay, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Will hunting is also having a lot of fun about the feature film shortly after its release.
A cult audio commentary
In 1999, the publisher The Criterion Collection releases a double DVD ofArmageddon containing many extras, including the Director’s Cut version. Among the bonuses is also a memorable audio commentary by Michael Bay, Jerry Bruckheimer, Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck, which they record separately. Thanks to this nugget, viewers learn more about the filmmaker’s working method and the perilous shooting of certain sequences, including the one where oil spurts out and fails to explode the Stamper platform.
The director also reveals some of his obsessions with the project, starting with Ben Affleck’s teeth. Disturbed, the filmmaker insists with Jerry Bruckheimer during the production that he pays the modest sum of 20,000 dollars to remake the teeth of the actor, which does not suit him.
Ben Affleck Unleashed
Like Michael Bay, Ben Affleck is not stingy in confidences on the audio commentary. He does not hesitate to openly mock of the film, for example astonishing details like the totally unnecessary but costly presence of a helicopter on a plane.
He also evokes aspects of the script that piss him off. The actor wonders if a ranking of the best drillers in the world is rigorously established when he sees that Harry Stamper is presented as the best in his field, obviously working with the best. The actor then declares:
I asked Michael why it was easier to train oil drillers to be astronauts than to train astronauts to be oil drillers and he told me to shut it down. The conversation was over. (Imitating Michael Bay 🙂 ‘Well, shut up, okay? You know, there is a real plan. ‘ I was like, ‘You mean it’s a real plan at NASA to train oil drillers?’, And he said, ‘Shut up!’
Steve Buscemi and Billy Bob Thornton circumspect
Ben Affleck isn’t the only cast member to joke aboutArmageddon, without denying the pleasure of having worked with Michael Bay, whom he finds on Pearl Harbor. Steve Buscemi and Billy Bob Thornton humorously admit having participated in the feature film for the money, being both at the time used to independent productions.
During the first group reading of the script, the two actors go up to wonder what they are doing there. Interviewed on the show Couch Surfing, the interpreter of Dan Truman, the director of flight operations at NASA, recalls:
I’m sitting next to guys I know. There was Steve Buscemi, Owen Wilson, Will …