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Universal Pick Up Gus Van Sant/Matt Damon Drama; ‘The Invasion’ Scribe David Kajganich To Rewrite Ben Affleck’s ‘The Stand’

Universal Pick Up Gus Van Sant/Matt Damon Drama; 'The Invasion' Scribe David Kajganich To Rewrite Ben Affleck's 'The Stand'

No matter what they do, the fates of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck will always be tied together. Having arrived as hot new things at the same time thanks to writing and starring in “Good Will Hunting” together, and cemented as a partnership thanks to joint appearances in various Kevin Smith films, it’s easy to forget that the duo haven’t worked together since Damon cameoed in the ill-fated “Jersey Girl.” The pair are planning to reunite down the line — with a film about legendary Boston gangster Whitey Bulger and “The Trade” a movie about wife swapping ball players in the works — but with those efforts seemingly still a way off, they’ve got their own concerns.

Damon was set to follow in Affleck’s footsteps and make his directorial debut on an as-yet untitled film, based on an idea by McSweeney’s founder Dave Eggers (“Where The Wild Things Are,” “Away We Go“), and co-written and starring himself and “The Office” lead John Krasinski. But when shooting on Neill Blomkamp‘s “Elysium” ran over, Damon, running out of prep time, was forced to leave the director’s chair behind, while still committing to star. Fortunately, and bringing things back full circle, who should step in to save the day but “Good Will Hunting” director Gus Van Sant, who signed on to helm the project, described as a Frank Capra-esque picture about two rival corporate executives.

However, according to Vulture, the behind the scenes problems have taken their toll, with Warner Bros., who were backing the project, deciding to drop the film. But fortunately, there’s been someone else waiting in the wings, as the site also reports that Universal, keen to mend bridges with Damon after he walked out on the Bourne franchise, are now in talks to pick the film up out of turnaround. Should this come to pass, the relatively cheap $15 million pictue will get underway in April or May, a slight delay from the original plan, while Vulture suggest that the mending of fences could pave the way for Damon to return to the Bourne series.

Meanwhile, Affleck is still in post-production on the promising hostage thriller “Argo,” but he’s lined up a whole host of potential follow-ups, including POV-actioner “Line of Sight” and a remake of French hit thriller “Tell No One,” but one film just leaped the queue, as the director has hired writer David Kajganich to pen the adaptation of Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic epic “The Stand” that he became attached to late last year.

Kajganich’s credits to date aren’t too promising — he wrote the disastrous “The Invasion” and Joel Schumacher‘s barely-seen “Town Creek” — but he’s gone through a hot streak of late thanks to other Stephen King adaptations, namely the remakes of “Pet Semetary” and “It,” the latter of which is set up Warner Bros., and has apparently thrilled executives on the page. With Warners proving so gun-shy lately, canceling “Akira” and “Arthur & Lancelot,” it’s good to see them moving forward on what can only be a difficult adaptation, although whether it turns out to be Affleck’s next film remains to be seen.

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