- Corey Haim, License To Drive, 1988. Ben tried hard but this proved to be first of eight teamings ruling the box-office for the two Coreys - Feldman and Haim. The following year he (and Matt Damon) were extras in Field of Dreams.
- Brendan Fraser, The Mummy, 1989. Hero Rick O’Connell was up between Ben, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConnaughey, Chris O’Donnell and Sylvester Stallone - as helmers switched from Clive Barker and Joe Dante to Stephen Sommers.
- Chris O'Donnell, Scent of a Woman, 1992. Affleck and his pal Damon - indeed, the entire cast of School Ties - fought tooth and nail toco-star with ablind Al Pacino. Al finally collected an Oscar. Idem for Ben and Matt six years later for writing Good Will Hunting.
- John Livingston, Mr Wrong, 1995. Lost Walter; so did David Arquette, Adrien Brody, Noah Wylie. They were lucky! “A dreadful movie,” blasted San Francisco critic Nick LaSalle. They were lucky again in April 2013 when their union blocked the auction of 54 testtapes, including theirs with Ellen DeGeneres. “Auditions are not public performances,” said the SAG-AFTRA. “Performers are entitled to expect them to remain private.”
- Matt Damon, Mystic Pizza, 1988. When two pals audition, one has to finish in a cinema, watching the other. In this case, instance, watching Damon’s screen debut, seven years after Affleck’s.
- Joseph Fiennes, Shakespeare In Love,1998. Miramax bully Harvey Weinstein wanted Ben as the Bard except he remained more loyal than Weinstein to pal Kevin Smith and accepted a cameo in Dogma (also made for Miramax).
- Richard Gere, Runaway Bride, 1999. During a full decade everyone had a shot at it: Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson.“I’m just happy,” said Affleck, “not to be holding up convenience stores.”
- James Caviezel, AngelEyes, 2001. Jennifer Lopez insisted on the guy -she didn’t know his name - who had impressed her in The Thin Red Line. 1998.Lopez agreed to Affleck for the (terrible) Gigli, 2002, and started an affair with him that, due to all the Bennifer tabloid headlines,crucified their careers for years.
- Edward Norton, Score, 2001. Passed - onthe chance of working with Marlon Brando and De Niro in the same film!
- Aaron Eckhart, Suspect Zero, 2003. In the 90s, Affleck,Tom Cruise and Sylvester Stallone were all keen on playing the disgraced Dallas FBI Agent.Cruise became a producer - refusingany credit.
- Colin Farrell, Daredevil, 2003. Inexplicably grabbing every film insight, the Irish Farrell was too busy for the blind hero but guested as Bullseye - the villain first offered to Affleck. Ben’s pal Kevin Smith (an ex-Daredevil comicbook writer) said he’d be a great DD.Smith was wrong (as usual). However, in either role, Ben would still have met his future wife, Jennifer Garner.
- Balthazar Getty, Feast, 2004. "“They're Hungry. You're Dinner.” As the script was developed by Affleck and Matt Damon’s Project Greenlight TV show, there was moment when the two pals were going to be brothers Bozo and Hot Wheels against the aliens in the blood-soaked horror. That would have wound their clock back…
- Mark Wahlberg, Four Brothers, 2004. Ben was not alone in turning down Bobby. Matt Damon concurred about the “ultra-violent” script. Well, the brothers (two black, two white) were wreaking vengeance for their mother’s death… just like John Wayne, Dean Martin, etc., in the original (Western) version, The Sons of Katie Elder in 1964.
- Aaron Eckhart,Suspect Zero, 2004. Tom Cruise and Sylvester Stallonealso keen on playing the FBI agent investigating a serial killer of... serial killers. Zak Penn’s 1995 draft went through numerous changes from writers including potential hero Affleck.
- Russell Crowe, The Cinderella Man, 2005. Long before Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom and Hollywooden Ron Howard were interested, when actor and sometime director Billy Bob Thornton planned the James Braddock story.
- Josh Lucas, Glory Road, 2006. Passed, presumably over the weight thing. Lucas gained 43 lbs to be Don Haskins, the legendary basketball coach, who force-fed US desegregation when his all-black Texas Western Miners beat the all-white University of Kentucky Wildcats to win the 1966 NCAA championship
- Justin Long, Live Free or Die Hard, 2006. Originally due to be John McClane’s son, our hero’s computer geek sidekick Matt Farrell in Hard 4 was chosen from Long, Ben Affleck, Ron Huebel, Kai Penn, Brad Renfro, Scott Speedman. Director Len Wiseman wanted Speedman, Bruce Willis voted Affleck to reprise their 1997 Armageddon chemistry. McClane Jr was kept in the Fox fridge until A Good Day To Die Hard, aka Hard 5, in 2012.
- Casey Affleck, Gone Baby Gone, 2007. Ben thought about playing the lead in his adaptation of the Jim Thompson novel - until deciding to more fully concentrate on his feature film directing debut.
- Will Smith, Hancock, 2007. Collecting dust on Hollywood shelves for a rapidly decade as Tonight, He Comes, Vincent Ngo’s script (much darker, with Hancock unable to sexually perform without killing his lovers) had the finger smudges of Affleck and pal Matt Damon, George Clooney, Leonardo Di Caprio.
- Matthew McConnaughey, The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, 2008. Due as a Disney production in 2003 until Ben’s Gigli flopped - gigantically.By the time the comedy was made, Affleck’s new wife, Jennifer Garner, was the star.Opposite Affleck’s Dazed and Confused co-star.
- Bruce Willis, Cop Out, 2009. Warner picked up the script when Gold Circle dropped it in 2008. And turned James Gandolfini-Robin Williams into Bruce Willis-Tracy Morgan as (first title) A Couple of Dicks. Director Kevin Smith’s most successful film. (The first he didn’t script, you see). He’d wanted to team his chums Affleck-Jason Mewes but Warner craved Star Power. Poor Kevin did not get on as well with Willis as when they co-starred in Love Free or Die Hard, 2006. "I don't wish him poorly or anything like that,” he said at Comic Con 2014, “but I just don't want to be near him ever again.” Their relationship can best be summed by Willis telling Smith: “I’m Bruce Willis! I’ve been Bruce Willis succesfully for 25 years! How long you been Silent Bob, motherfucker?”
- Joel Edgerton, The Great Gatsby, 2011.Australian director Baz Luhrmann asked actor Ben to be Tom Buchanan opposite the great Leonardo DiCaprio but director Affleck was recreating the 1979 Iran hostage crisis in Argo (and winning a best director Oscar for it!). Edgerton, who narrowly lost out on being “the new Bourne,” was then chosen. Nothing to do with another Aussie, of course...
- Will Smith, Focus, 2014. Ryan Gosling as a veteran grifter teaching his art to (and falling for) Emma Stone - became Smith (coaching Margot Robbie) after Affleck and Brad Pitt passed. And Kristen Stewart quit due to her age difference with Smith. Her 24 to his 57.
- Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs, 2015. Christian Bale was in, then out (like Sony Pictures!). Other potential Jobses included Bradley Cooper, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio. Christian baled for The Accountant andLeo took over another Bale reject, The Revenant… before“a lengthy break from acting.”