Ben Affleck as US president?

WASHINGTON • Okay, everyone knew this would happen.

Politically minded folk in the entertainment business surely would look at reality-show star turned President-elect Donald Trump's improbable ascendancy to the highest office in the land and think, "Hey, why not me?".

Move over, rapper Kanye West and actor Dwayne Johnson. Actor Ben Affleck, who has long been involved on the political periphery, might be the one to watch.

"The one great thing about November of 2016 is that, all of a sudden, I became qualified to run for president," Affleck said in an interview during the TimesTalks event by The New York Times this week.

His credits include his new movie, Live By Night, Argo (2012) and Gigli (2003) - and a handful of turns testifying on Capitol Hill about the Congo, a region which he has devoted philanthropic efforts to.

He said: "I like the idea of running for office. I think there's something noble in public service."

However, unlike so many fresh- faced idealists, Affleck, 44, has spent enough time around elected officials to understand the downside of it.

"It's just this relentless cash suck, where you're just glad-handing and making telephone calls, doing cocktail parties and trying to gobble up as much money as you can," he said.

Live By Night, Affleck's first directorial effort since Argo, is based on Dennis Lehane's Prohibition-era crime novel. It will be out on limited release on Dec 25 in the United States, before a wide release next month.

Johnson, 44, has been hinting at a possible presidential run in 2020; and West, 39, said last year that he wanted to run for president in 2020.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2016, with the headline 'Ben Affleck as US president?'. Print Edition | Subscribe