If Ben Affleck weren't an actor, what job would he most like to try? "It might just be that I'm influenced by watching The West Wing, but I think that being a speechwriter is a pretty cool job," says Affleck, 30, who stars as a blind superhero in Daredevil. "You get to try to pitch stuff, but it's substantive. If you write for a TV show it gets a laugh or it moves people, but it doesn't move the government or the engine of the world." Just don't ask the actor to mix any homespun wisdom into his political polemic. "I'm not so good with folksy, down-home anecdotes," says Affleck, adding that he'd campaign for one cast member if he were in charge. "I think Rob Lowe should stay on The West Wing."
You Can Take the Girl out of Manhattan...
Longtime New Yorker Michael Michele was never one to succumb to L.A.'s sunny charms. "That's the reason I finally left ER [in 2001]," says Michele, 36, who is currently costarring as Matthew McConaughey's ruthless rival in the romantic comedy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. "I never moved to Los Angeles. I flew home to New York every weekend for three years. My costars thought I was insane, always rushing to catch that last red-eye back. Eriq LaSalle still talks about it when I speak to him now." Michele even insisted on maintaining a New York state of mind when she was in Hollywood. "In my dressing room the first picture you would see is of a woman in her 80s in a [New York] taxicab, giving you the finger," Michele says with a laugh. "People were offended, but it's really a joke. It's like, 'I may be in La La Land, but here's the truth!'"
THE STARS SOUNDS OFF: REALITY TV
Celebs are no more immune to the lure of reality television than we are. So which shows dish out enough deceit, romance and tone deafness to keep the stars hooked?
Molly Shannon (left): "The Bachelor with Aaron and Helene—that's the one I really got into. I guess it's girls seeing how other girls will act. There's just something fun about that."
John Goodman: "I liked the first few weeks of American Idol, when they all sounded like Alfalfa. Now they're too good, so it's not as fun to goof on them anymore."
Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray front man): "I love The Surreal Life. If you have MC Hammer and Webster [Emmanuel Lewis] sharing bunk beds, count me in. I want to start a reality channel. Reality all day. I have no friends."
Chi McBride (Boston Public): "American Idol. They keep enough wackos on there every week to keep it interesting. And I love Simon because he's honest."
Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit lead singer): "The Surreal Life. Watching Corey Feldman is an unbelievable guilty pleasure. He keeps self-destructing."
Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo): "I seriously think American Idol is without a doubt the best show ever created by humanity."
Justin Timberlake: "Joe Millionaire. To see women go crazy over a man with no money...it doesn't matter who wins, because there's not really a winner, is there?"