According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. has won a bidding war for BuzzFeed author Ken Bensinger’s new chronicle of the FIFA sports corruption scandal “Houses of Deceit,” with Academy Award winner Ben Affleck (Argo, Good Will Hunting) lined up to produce and director Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) behind the camera.
Bensinger’s book chronicles the American side of the scandal, at the center of which is Chuck Blazer, a soccer executive who along with other FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) Executive Committee members accepted bribes from Moroccan and South African officials to gain World Cup hosting privileges in 1998 and 2010. Blazer helped popularize the sport in the U.S. but also became known for taking a large percentage of sponsorship and TV money and living a life of extreme excess, all the while informing on other executives for the FBI.
Having recently directed Affleck in the Warner Bros. thriller The Accountant, O’Connor will co-write the screenplay with frequent collaborator Anthony Tambakis. There is no word on who will take the juicy role of Blazer in the film, though the man’s girth and big white beard will no doubt preclude Affleck from taking the part, especially given his duties as Batman in the DC Cinematic Universe.
Guymon Casady and Darin Friedman of Entertainment 360 are also producing the film along with Affleck’s Pearl Street Films partner Matt Damon.
Meanwhile, the Tim Roth-led film about the founding of FIFA (funded by FIFA to the tune of roughly $30 million), titled United Passions, recently became another black mark on the organization, grossing a beyond-embarrassing $918 dollars domestically and less than $200,000 worldwide.
O’Connor’s next film, the Natalie Portman-led western Jane Got a Gun, will open on September 4, while The Accountant (currently in post-production) is set for a January 29, 2016 bow. Affleck will be seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice two months later on March 25 and is currently in pre-production on his next directorial outing, Live By Night, which is in line for an October 7, 2016 release.
(Photo Credit: WENN)