Ben Affleck to helm making-of-Chinatown movie at Paramount
It’s been four years since Oscar winner Ben Affleck last stepped into the director’s chair for a feature project and while he has a number of projects he’s reportedly set to helm, Deadline brings word that the Argo writer/director has signed on to next direct Paramount’s making-of-Chinatown project, The Big Goodbye.
Based on Sam Wasson’s novel of the same name, the story will chronicle the behind-the-scenes story of the Jack Nicholson-starring film noir classic, from Nicholson and director Roman Polanski’s troubled lifestyles to the scripting of what is often considered one of the greatest ever written and the then-imminent eclipse of the ’70s filmmaker-friendly studios.
Sources report that in addition to directing, Affleck is set to produce and pen the script for the adaptation, with the rights for the novel initially being acquired by Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, who subsequently brought it to the studio and is also attached to produce.
The project is also being considered a major priority by both the studio and Affleck, with former studio head Robert Evans, who made the deal on the original film, having passed in October. Evans was also well-known for helping redefine how to run a studio in the ’70s with his funding of the juggernaut crime franchise The Godfather at Paramount. Affleck is well-known for loving film history, very apparent in his Oscar Best Picture-winning 2012 historical thriller Argo, and though it’s unknown if he will also act in the film as he has done with three of his four directorial efforts, it’s expected the project will draw A-list talent on camera.
Affleck’s last effort behind the camera was the 2016 adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Live By Night, which was a box office bomb and received generally mixed reviews from critics, and has since been focused on his acting followed by getting sober. After coming back from rehab, the 47-year-old writer/director/actor returned to acting with the sports drama The Way Back, for which he received critical acclaim in what many consider the best performance of his career, and is currently waiting to return to production on the Robert Rodriguez-helmed Hypnotic and Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel while also developing a crime drama focused on the McDonald’s Monopoly fraud with long-time collaborator Matt Damon.
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