CELEBRITY
01/10/2013 11:35 am ET Updated Jan 10, 2013

Ben Affleck Loves Kristen Stewart, But He's Too Busy For 'Focus'

Ben Affleck might "love" Kristen Stewart, but he is too busy to do a movie with her right now.

Last month, Stewart confirmed she and Affleck were slated to star in "Focus," a sexy comedy about a novice con artist who hooks up with a seasoned expert. Days later, Affleck dropped out.

At the National Board of Review awards in New York on Tuesday, Affleck explained why he quit the Stewart flick.

"Basically I'm doing this movie called 'Live By Night' and I'm trying to meet this schedule... so that I can have it released at the right time," he told MTV News. "And basically I haven't gotten enough writing done; it became clear that if I took that job — it was in Buenos Aires for three months — I'd have to miss the deadline. I had to choose between getting the movie out when I wanted to or doing that movie."

Affleck went on to add, "Reluctantly I chose the latter but I love those guys, I love Kristen. I was really excited to work with her. I think the movie is going to be fabulous. I'm sure they'll find a great guy for it."

Dropping out of the flick might have saved Affleck from some nasty manufactured gossip.

In November, In Touch magazine was already touting a possible Stewart-Affleck affair with a headline claiming a "sizzling" love scene in "Focus" could be reason for Affleck's wife, Jennifer Garner, to worry. GossipCop quashed the report as completely false.

The 40-year-old actor also received a surprise on Thursday, when the 2013 Academy Awards nominees were announced. The "Argo" actor and director was thought by some to be a shoo-in for a Best Director nomination, but Affleck was snubbed an Oscar nod in that category. "Argo," however, picked up several other nominations, including one for Best Picture.

See the full list of 2013 Academy Awards here.

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