Ben Affleck likes a cup of joe as much as the average Joe. ¶ The A-lister and his girlfriend, “Saturday Night Live” producer Lindsay Shookus, have been the center of much paparazzi attention over the past few weeks, but what really stands out is the seemingly constant presence of iced coffee. The drink figures into most shots of the couple, as The Cut recently pointed out, whether Starbucks cups in New York or nighttime java in Santa Monica. The substantial number of images keeps with a tradition of photographing celebrities acting “just like us,” a phrase that hopefully doesn’t extend to Affleck’s very wet T-shirt.
“I’ve seen a couple of them where he’s double-fisting,” said Steven Rea, author of “Hollywood Cafe: Coffee With the Stars.”
Fetching a simple cup often acts as a mysteriously humanizing force for celebrities — “a common denominator,” as Rea put it — because it’s affordable and often part of a daily ritual. Sure, Taylor Swift reportedly bought a Rhode Island mansion for $17.75 million, but she grabs the same La Colombe iced coffee we do. It wasn’t always this way, though. Coffee used to do the opposite, acting as visual evidence that celebrities were way cooler than the rest of us.
Coffee has “always been a part of the fabric of the Hollywood scene” because of early-morning call times, according to Rea. His 192-page book, published in 2015, is filled with vintage photographs that feature actors drinking coffee on and off set. There are shots of Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart making it at home with fancy gadgets, and others of Grace Kelly and Steve McQueen at the craft services table on movie sets.
“It became a Hollywood habit, mostly in good ways,” he said. “If you’re going to have an addiction, coffee is one where the downsides aren’t that bad.”
A steaming mug at a cafe offered what Rea called the “European sophistication factor.” Hollywood has had ties to Europe from the silent era…