Has your style changed since your directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone? Paul Doro, NEW YORK CITY
Yeah. Think of it like running a marathon. The first time I ran a marathon, I wasn't even sure I could finish. Once I knew that the movie would get to the end without exploding, I could focus. It was still nerve-racking. It was still difficult. But I had a little bit more confidence.
What is the most useful directorial tip you've picked up? Margarita Gaerlan, NEW YORK CITY
Gus Van Sant is good about letting actors make their own discoveries. You do a take, go to the director and say, "How was that?" Gus' answer was always, "What do you think?" He also said that directing is 90% casting, which is very wise. I was lucky I got all my first-choice people for The Town. Jon Hamm was the first. I thought that if I got Jon, he's so handsome, everyone else would want to do the movie.
Do you think we can ever let the stereotypes about Boston go? Tom Nichols, NEWPORT, R.I.
I do think there are some stereotypes about Boston, because it has become more common to use the city as a setting for movies. But I'm from there, and I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to do. I didn't think I was repeating the same old tired cliché.
When will you shoot another movie with Matt Damon? Perhaps Good Will Hunting 2? Robert Brndusic Dedus, MARIBOR, SLOVENIA
Good Will Hunting 2 is probably not in the works this year, but who knows? Matt and I have a production company together. We almost did something recently, and then The Town came along. Matt, of course, is busy and sought after. When you're working with all the great directors in the world, Ben Affleck is a little bit behind Scorsese and the Coen brothers. Soon, I hope.
You seem to have come a long way as an artist since dating Jennifer Lopez. Have the changes in your life allowed us to see your true talent? Jennie Gartner, RUTLAND, VT.
It's easy to conflate how a movie goes with what's happening in a person's life. The truth is, it's a little bit more complicated. I feel I've always been the person I am now. I'm happier now because I've gotten older and a bit more mature, but it was never like I was out of control.
Pearl Harbor, Gigli and Jersey Girl were borderline unwatchable. How is it that these movies snuck by your radar? Kurt Tezel, COCOA BEACH, FLA.
I don't know what borderline means. That means you watched but later said, "I can't watch this"? You like to think you know whether a movie is going to work, but in large measure, they are bets. Even when you think you're a favorite, you can come up short. I like Jersey Girl. The others may be fair criticism.
Do you pay attention to your films' reviews? Emily Hansen, SANDS POINT, N.Y.
Whether or not I satisfy [my objectives] I try to judge for myself. You can't help but be aware of reviews, particularly if you direct something. But I don't read every one.
What would you do if you weren't in the film industry? Zella Ondrey, DRUMS, PA.
It's hard to say. I've been doing this for a long time. It's something I really love. I'm happy to be doing this and want to keep it up.
Would you consider making another movie with your wife Jennifer Garner? Denise Burgess, WEST PALM BEACH, FLA.
In my experience, it's not a good idea to make movies with people you are in a relationship with. Audiences have a hard time suspending disbelief about you if they know about the relationship. It's distracting.
Does it worry you that the media gives so much attention to your two young daughters? Carrie Smith, DETROIT
Yes. I don't think it's appropriate to make celebrities out of the children of celebrities. It's one thing that my wife and I get it; that's part of the bargain. But I don't want my children to grow up with that kind of strangeness.