Building up for much of the first half of 2011, Matt Damon is gearing up to step behind the camera for his directorial debut. During the summer, the actor let slip that “The Office” star John Krasinski would be taking a role in the upcoming film that many assumed was “Father Daughter Time: A Tale of Armed Robbery and Eskimo Kisses.” Warner Bros. had picked up that spec script — about a man who goes on the lam with his daughter, who is an accomplice in a three-state crime spree — as a vehicle for Damon to direct. But as it turns out, it’s not that project at all, and in fact, Krasinski is a much bigger collaborator on the forthcoming movie that we had thought.
Variety reports that the project is now officially moving forward, but that it’s something quite different. Based on a concept created by Krasinski and “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” author Dave Eggers, co-written with Damon, and produced under the actor’s Sunday Night Productions shingle, details are slim. The story will center on a salesman (Damon) whose whole life is called into question after he arrives in a small town. Deadline says that it will be similar in tone to “Erin Brokovich,” so likely a drama with some comedic undertones. Last we heard the film is scheduled to shoot in early 2012; it’s one of the reasons Damon couldn’t stand in for George Clooney in Steven Soderbergh‘s “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” which essentially shoots at the same time.
If it suddenly seems odd that Jim Halpert is making such a big move behind the scenes, don’t be too surprised. Not only has Krasinski already been down the road of getting his directorial debut produced and made (“Brief Interviews with Hideous Men“), you might remember that he’s also set up a project at HBO about the Chateau Marmont with none other than Aaron Sorkin writing the screenplay. The guy has a pretty sharp radar for material and talent, and he’s definitely laying out a great foundation for when he eventually exits the long-running NBC sitcom.