The 36-year-old Pearl Harbor star explains the rental:
“The thing about the car is this,” he says. “I drive you in the car and you describe it. You notice something I haven’t — you pick up on something, some inelegant little smear, or get a glimpse of my daughter’s art from school, some little forgotten whatever. And maybe it hurts someone in my family, somewhere, somehow, and then it’s like, ‘F*ck it, the next guy doesn’t get in the car.’ Then the question is, ‘Why don’t you let me see your car?’”
Ben, who is described by Esquire as “A Smart, Talented Man Trapped in Lindsay Lohan’s Life,” and his wife Jennifer Garner attract a lot of attention when they’re out, with paparazzi clamoring for a shot of the couple with their daughters Violet, 3, and Seraphina, 3 months.
The notoriously private Ben does eventually let his guard down to Esquire just a bit, sending the journalist an email that gives a tiny glimpse into his life with Jen and the girls…
The car has two car seats in the back. On the floor is a lightweight screen which, when raised, blocks a view of the rear seats. Photographers and video paparazzi will cut me and my wife off in traffic trying to look through the front window (the only one without a tint) to see if the kids are in back. The idea is, if they have no hope of seeing anything, they won’t drive recklessly trying to look in.
The rest of what is in my car is neither private nor interesting. I’ve been listening to Tell Tale Signs by Bob Dylan, so that was on the iPod the day of the interview. I quit smoking, so there is only change in the ashtrays — but after three and a half years, I still think about it quite a bit, from time to time. The car is powered by an internal combustion engine — don’t suppose it makes any difference that I feel badly about that. My wife drives a hybrid, and my other car, as they say, is a motorcycle. So if you amortize the mpg over all the vehicles, it’s pretty good. Except, if I’m being honest, mostly the motorcycle sits in the driveway these days, like a specter from a past life. Hard to justify a Hayabusa with two kids, but I still feel the phantom pains some days. The tips of the index and middle finger on my left hand, feeling for the clutch, a faint brush across the tops of my toes, and the pull of a throttle rolling open. The memory of shifting gears gathers dust on the drive as I walk up, past the relic of an old life and into the next one.