25 Years Later, a Sundance Darling Starring a Young Ben Affleck Gets a Makeover

When Wakefield and Pellington met Affleck, they deemed the up-and-coming heartthrob “the real Gunner.” Affleck already had a handful of supporting credits to his name (School Ties, Dazed and Confused, Mallrats) but wasn’t yet the superstar that Good Will Hunting and Armageddon would make him. “He’s really playing an extension of himself,” Pellington says, citing what his friend and mentor Cameron Crowe calls a “persona piece.” Gunner’s carnal braggadocio complements Sonny’s jittery intellectualism. Each wants what the other has, hence their budding kinship. 

“Jeremy loved the book and came with stuff underlined, and Ben was just so eager,” Pellington recalls. “From the first few rehearsals, they were both supercommitted, superserious, hungry, enthusiastic, prepared. Jeremy had been a lead in Spanking the Monkey, but Ben had never been the lead. He was really hard-working and took it seriously.” 

For the women Gunner and Sonny romance as they settle into post-Army life in 1950s Indianapolis, Pellington enlisted Rachel Weisz, Amy Locane (who’d appeared alongside Affleck and his pal Matt Damon in School Ties), and Rose McGowan. But not everything stayed rosy once production wrapped. It was at Sundance in 1997, when McGowan was there to promote the movie, that Harvey Weinstein allegedly assaulted her in a hotel room, as The New York Times reported in 2017. What was supposed to be a business meeting became a traumatizing encounter with one of cinema’s kingmakers, one with ripples that would be felt for decades. McGowan was 24 at the time, having recently appeared in The Doom Generation and Scream. “My life changed,” she told the Times

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