With all the endless discussion and debates about Ben Affleck signing on to play Caped Crusader in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel, Batman vs. Superman (not the official title), the fact that Affleck is also coming off headlining and directing a Best Picture Oscar-winning film (with the historical drama/thriller Argo) has ended up being pushed to the side. (Such is the power of DC superheroes.)
Fortunately, the actor – who also has an Oscar for co-writing Good Will Hunting – has got a couple of projects in the works, to take his mind off the pressure of playing Bruce Wayne. Affleck is currently starring in David Fincher’s Gone Girl novel adaptation and will begin working on Batman vs. Superman in early 2014. After that, he should be able to start working on his next directing/starring vehicle, Live By Night - adapted from the historical crime drama book written by Dennis Lehane (Gone Baby Gone, Shutter Island) – and, possibly thereafter, get to shooting his planned Whitey Bulger biopic, starring BFF Matt Damon.
Deadline is reporting that Warner Bros. has assigned Will Staples – the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 video game writer-turned screenwriter of upcoming films like King of Heists (with Jeremy Renner attached to star) – to script a modern geopolitical drama/thriller set in Africa, as another future starring/directing vehicle for Affleck. In addition, Affleck plans to produce the film (which is currently without an official title), alongside Damon and Jennifer Todd through their WB-based Pearl Street banner.
Between Gone Baby Gone, The Town and, of course, Argo, Affleck has continued to prove that he has matured into a very good storyteller, who specialty is combining genuine thrills with more thoughtful narrative substance. The proposed Africa-set thriller – based on an idea that Affleck pitched to Staples – sounds like yet another worthwhile project for him to focus on time and energy on making.
Here is a more in-depth description of the project, as taken from the Deadline report:
The film is set in Africa, where a bunch of mercenaries are hired to kill a warlord who has been victimizing his own people. The film is both an action movie and an examination of the moral ambiguities of how philanthropy and foreign assistance veers into modern day neocolonialism. It also tracks how involvement in the affairs of foreign countries is always a good deal more complicated than anticipated in the planning stages.
One area where Argo could’ve arguably stood some improvement – as mentioned in Screen Rant‘s official review – was in regard to the important political/social themes; that is, the ones it does touch upon, just not with as much attention as might’ve been desirable. Affleck – as a director – has refined his craft with every subsequent movie he’s made thus far, and it sounds as though this untitled Africa-based project will give him a chance to continue doing just that.
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.