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Ben Affleck Returns To Dennis Lehane Territory, Eyes ‘Live By Night’ As Next Directorial Outing

Ben Affleck Returns To Dennis Lehane Territory, Eyes 'Live By Night' As Next Directorial Outing

“My guess is honestly, [it’ll be] the movie after next. I’ll probably find something that’s in better shape to do next until we got that one ready, and then we’ll go ahead and fire that one up,” Ben Affleck told us just a couple of nights ago, when we asked him about his brewing Whitey Bulger biopic. And he may have found that project.

Deadline reports that he is in talks with Warner Bros. to write, direct, produce and star in an adaptation of Dennis Lehane‘s latest book “Live By Night,” set to be co-produced by Leonardo DiCaprio via his Appian Way shingle (he was eyed to star, though that no longer seems to be the case). Of course, you already know Affleck’s directorial debut was the big screen take on Lehane’s “Gone Baby Gone,” and this new novel brings with it the kind of ingredients the actor/director tends to gravitate toward. The Prohibition set tale centers on Joe Coughlin, the son of a cop who finds himself slipping into a life of organized crime. Set against a colorful backdrop that spans from Boston (Affleck’s hood) to Tampa to Cuba. Here’s the book synopsis from Amazon:

Boston, 1926. The ’20s are roaring. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world.

Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city’s most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw.

But life on the dark side carries a heavy price. In a time when ruthless men of ambition, armed with cash, illegal booze, and guns, battle for control, no one—neither family nor friend, enemy nor lover—can be trusted. Beyond money and power, even the threat of prison, one fate seems most likely for men like Joe: an early death. But until that day, he and his friends are determined to live life to the hilt.

Joe embarks on a dizzying journey up the ladder of organized crime that takes him from the flash of Jazz Age Boston to the sensual shimmer of Tampa’s Latin Quarter to the sizzling streets of Cuba. Live by Night is a riveting epic layered with a diverse cast of loyal friends and callous enemies, tough rumrunners and sultry femmes fatales, Bible-quoting evangelists and cruel Klansmen, all battling for survival and their piece of the American dream. At once a sweeping love story and a compelling saga of revenge, it is a spellbinding tour de force of betrayal and redemption, music and murder, that brings fully to life a bygone era when sin was cause for celebration and vice was a national virtue.

But here’s the thing — will it be his next? From what he told us, it seems he wanted a script a bit further along for his next movie, and for this he will need to adapt it, a process that certainly takes some time, and won’t be made easier by the awards season run for “Argo.” Nor his recently announced acting gig in “Focus.” That is not to mention the myriad of projects he has brewing including “The Stand” (also for WB), the remake of “Tell No One,” and lord knows what else.

All this to say? We’ll see. But hell, Affleck continues to show some great taste in material and we’d love to see that old school WB logo fly in front of this one.

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