Jay Lacopo, Ben Younger, and Ehren Kruger get a little help from the man on top

By EW Staff
Updated June 25, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

Here’s why it pays to be an fob — a friend of Ben Affleck. The Oscar-winning scribe (and It List ’97 alum) is playing a pivotal part in the burgeoning success of this trio.

It FOB No. 1
Jay Lacopo
AGE: 36
HIS AFFLECKTION: A struggling actor, Lacopo parlayed his budding screenwriting career into a starring role when chums Affleck and Matt Damon agreed to produce his script The Third Wheel, set to start shooting July 13. But he says that doesn’t mean he’ll be dating starlets and gracing magazine covers anytime soon. ”People say I’ll be the next Matt and Ben, until I point out that I’m a 36-year-old character actor, and they’re strikingly handsome [twentysomethings].”
WEIRDEST CAREER MOMENT: Playing a photographer-turned-evil rapist on General Hospital in 1997-98.
NEXT: Writing three films for Fox, and starring in Sundance Channel ads directed by that other Affleck, Casey.

It FOB No. 2
Ben Younger
AGE: 26
HIS AFFLECKTION: This former New Jersey kosher-meat delivery boy’s first writing-directing gig, Boiler Room, due out Jan. 28, stars Affleck and Giovanni Ribisi and is being touted as a ’90s Wall Street.
WORK HABITS: ”I write only from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. In longhand. Then I put it on a computer that my mom got me.”
KNEW HE’D MADE IT WHEN: Affleck presented him with a BMW ‘cycle as a wrap gift.
IF HE COULDN’T DIRECT HE’D… ”Be a mechanic. I’d definitely be doing manual labor.”
WEIRDEST CAREER MOMENT: Lunching with Heather Locklear and giving her career advice.
NEXT: Plans to write a romantic comedy.

It FOB No. 3
Ehren Kruger
AGE: 26
HIS AFFLECKTION: Scripted Ben’s high-profile Dimension thriller, Reindeer Games, coming this December, and has since become Bob and Harvey Weinstein’s writer of choice. He’s currently rewriting the studio’s studly Western Texas Rangers.
UNLIKELY SOURCE OF INSPIRATION: “I write lists of titles and think of stories to go with them. I have encyclopedias full of them — I’m just waiting for the plots.”
NEXT: His first produced feature-length screenplay, Arlington Road, with a plot twist that makes The Crying Game‘s look as predictable as a Mentos ad. Followed by a remake of the witchy ’50s flick Bell, Book and Candle.