Ben Affleck Needed 50 Takes to Perfect That 'Gone Girl' Grin

Director David Fincher has said that he cast Ben Affleck in Gone Girl after searching for his picture online and seeing the exact smile he imagined for protagonist Nick Dunne. Audiences can see it in the trailer, when Nick is standing next to a photo of his missing wife (played by Rosamund Pike); it’s that reflexive, people-pleasing, slightly pained smile. But the process of achieving that shot wasn’t as simple as saying “cheese.” In this video interview with Yahoo, Affleck recalls that it took “forever” for Fincher to find the expression he was looking for.

Gone Girl Ben Affleck Smile
Gone Girl Ben Affleck Smile

“He fixated on the moment where Nick stands in front of the ‘Missing’ poster and smiles because someone asked him to,” Affleck says of the director. “He’s sort of obsessed with the idea of people who are pleasers, who want to make other people feel comfortable even at their own expense.” The star recalls trying “50 different kinds of smiles” before Fincher was satisfied. “Some were quick, some were long, some were obsequious, some were sort of veiled contempt,” he says. “Finally, I was like, ‘Dude, just come over here and move the mouth, because I don’t know what we’re doing.’ So I couldn’t reproduce it, probably, if I tried.”

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Affleck’s costar Carrie Coon, on the other hand, didn’t have to fake it for the cameras. “I get to respond the way people probably really want to,” says Coon, who plays Nick Dunne’s acerbic twin sister. “And it must be very gratifying for the audience to see somebody going, ‘Are you kidding me? This can’t be happening.”