The Affleck brothers are presently carving out freedom within the film world in their own unique ways—Ben Affleck as the successful actor-turned-director and now heir to the Batman throne, and Casey Affleck as the quietly transgressive player in the independent scene with “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” and “I’m Still Here.” They each have a number of projects on their plate, with Ben handling Bat-duties alongside a number of acting and directing gigs and Casey involved with Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” and David Lowery’s sci-fi “To Be Two.” But now we have word on two collaborations: one between brothers, and one between Ben and actor Matt Damon.
While speaking to EW about the extended Blu-ray cut of his Oscar-winning hit “Argo,” Ben Affleck briefly touched upon his long-gestating directorial project about Whitey Bulger, the organized crime figure who last month was indicted for 19 murders and sentenced to two life sentences. With the story as topical as ever, Affleck says the film, which hopes to see Matt Damon starring and Casey Affleck supporting, is moving along nicely.
“Matt and I are still very very interested in the movie,” he said. “We have a new writer and he’s writing away, as we speak: Aaron Stockard, who co-wrote ‘The Town‘ and ‘Gone Baby Gone‘ with me. So he’s grinding away. Supposed to turn in a draft I think after the new year. I’m as optimistic as anybody.” At one point, three projects about Bulger were in development, but with Warner Bros. fully behind the power duo of Affleck and Damon, it seems a sure bet which one will hit production first if the new addition of Stockard turns in a slick and useable draft.
And while the Affleck clan wait on that event, they’ve also been busy prepping a script that both rewrote close to three years back: “The Trade,” a drama based on the true account of New York Yankees players Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich, who in 1973 revealed that they had been swapping wives and had fallen for each other’s partners. Screenwriter Dave Mandel originally took a crack at the story with his 2009 Black List script, but what of the refurbished draft by Ben and Casey? It’s apparently finished, and Casey told The Daily Beast that it’s “a fun sports movie—like ‘Slap Shot.’ ”
As far as comparisons go, the 1977 George Roy Hill film is a considerable benchmark, but we’ll see how close both Ben and Casey get to topping it when the film is (hopefully) eventually released.