08/21/2002 AT 01:00 PM EDT
Although Ben Affleck's high profile romance with "Gigli" costar Jennifer Lopez, 33, remains a hot topic, the 29-year-old actor would rather talk about his relationship with buddy and frequent collaborator, Matt Damon, 32. The best friends, who shared a screenwriting Oscar for 1997's "Good Will Hunting," are stumping together to promote the second season of their Emmy-nominated HBO series "Project Greenlight." (HBO, like PEOPLE, is part of AOL Time Warner.) The pair shared with USA Today the secret of their ongoing friendship. "The occasional romantic dinner," said Damon to the newspaper. "Don't let the romance die." Added Affleck: "You're fortunate if you get to do the work you like, and you're doubly fortunate if you get to do that work with people you like, trust and respect." The two A-list actors will kick off the second Project Greenlight on September 19. (Applicants can apply on line at www.projectgreenlight.com ). Unlike the debut competition, this time there will be two winners: a screenwriter and an aspiring director, reports USA Today. The winners will receive $1 million to collaborate on their film and the process will be documented and aired on the HBO series. The completed movie will be executive-produced by Affleck, Damon and partners Sean Bailey and Chris Moore and released by Miramax Films. "Five years ago, I would have done anything to get that chance," Damon told USA Today. In March of 2001, Project Greenlight found its first winner, screenwriter Pete Jones, who wrote and directed "Stolen Summer," starring Aidan Quinn and Bonnie Hunt. The film, which had buzz around it because of the popular HBO show which chronicled its making, was a box-office disappointment. But the friends told USA Today that making hits was not the object of their project. "We want to establish this as a viable way of making movies," Affleck told the paper. "And a way for people to break into this business."