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Ben Stiller Turned Down His Big Chance to Direct Good Will Hunting

Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty

In Noah Baumbach’s new movie, While We’re Young, Ben Stiller plays an uptight documentary filmmaker enamored by two 20-something hipsters (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried) whose friendship prompts him to regain some of his youthful lust for life. When we caught up with Stiller last night at the film’s premiere, then, we wondered whether there was anything he’d do differently if he were granted another shot at living through his 20s and 30s. “I remember my agent sent me the script for Good Will Hunting to direct,” replied Stiller, “and I was like, ‘Who are these guys, Affleck and Damon? And why are they attached to this project? No, thank you!’ I mean, maybe I’d change that.” And while Stiller — who was then an actor/filmmaker hot off directing Reality Bites — copped to more than a few regrets in life, he’s ultimately made his peace with what might have been. “That’s what every time travel movie you’ve ever seen is based on!” he said. “We start going down that rabbit hole and people say, ‘If I had to do it over, I wouldn’t change anything.’ Now, that’s not how I feel, but I am happy with the choices I’ve made because they’ve gotten me to where I am today and I’ve learned from them.”

Why Ben Stiller Turned Down Good Will Hunting