He is the star of the number one movie in America, an Oscar-winning director, and our new Batman, but to some kids of the 80’s, he’ll always be a child sailor named C.T. Granville.
While it’s fair to say that Good Will Hunting and a few Kevin Smith films helped launch Affleck’s star, it was the PBS show The Voyage of the Mimi that got his career started. In 1984, a 12-year-old Affleck had a starring role on the educational series that sought to teach science and math to middle school students.
Shot in Affleck’s home state of Massachusetts, the locally produced show told the story of Captain Granville (played by a real MIT scientist) was hired to take a census of humpback whales — Affleck played the grandson brought onboard to give his bed-ridden pregnant mother a break. Lessons presented in each episode were accompanied by worksheets and handouts distributed in classrooms.
”It gave me my start, and to this day people come up to me and go, ‘You know, I had to watch Voyage of the Mimi in sixth grade,’” Affleck told NPR in an interview this weekend. “I’m not sure they’re grateful, exactly, but it is how I got going.”
There was a follow-up series, produced in 1988, which featured an ancient Mayan storyline — a 16-year-old Affleck returned for that one, too. And unlike many of his peers, he found his early-career work to be a more-or-less positive experience.
"I was a child actor, to some extent. It was exciting," he told Entertainment Weekly back in 2007. “I mean, it made me feel like I took some responsibility. I got to grow up — sometimes I think I grew up too fast. I was down in Mexico for a while, and I was, like, 13, and the wheels came off a little bit. It definitely exposed me to acting, got me really comfortable [being] in front of the camera and gave me the sense that it was something I really liked doing, without overexposing me [to the point] where I ended up doing crack and was on the Mickey Mouse Club, you know?”