“I would love to make a movie about Congo, but unfortunately I’ve asked Hollywood folks and they always say, ah, nobody wants to see a movie about Africa,” Ben Affleck said in 2010. But that was before he won Best Picture for “Argo.” And that was before he was cast as Batman in “Batman Vs. Superman.” And clearly, things have changed.
Deadline reports that Affleck is finally realizing his dream for an Africa-set drama, setting up a new project at his longtime Warner Bros. home that will tackle subject matter close to his heart. Will Staples has been tasked to pen the script for the currently untitled project that will tackle the crossroads of philanthropy, foreign policy and neocolonialism in Africa in the tale of a group of mercenaries hired to take down a brutal warlord.
Affleck has long made his voice heard about what’s going on in the Eastern Congo (he founded the Eastern Congo Initiative) pushing for U.S. intervention in an area where multiple countries and armed factions are battling over the mineral rich land and resources. Millions have been killed, hundreds of thousands have been displaced and it’s nothing short of a humanitarian crisis.
Sounds like potentially great, “Syriana“/”Traffic“-esque sorta stuff but it’s going to be a while yet. Affleck’s very busy slate includes the currently shooting “Gone Girl,” the aforementioned “Man Of Steel” sequel, which shoots early in 2014, and the actor/director is to helm the Prohibition era drama “Live By Night” by the end of next year. Damn. However, Affleck does reveal that he had reservations about doing the Batman movie at all.
“Initially, I was reluctant as I felt I didn’t fit the traditional mold. But once Zack [Snyder] showed me the concept, and that it would be both different from the great movies that Chris [Nolan] and Christian [Bale] made, but still in keeping with tradition, I was excited,” he told 411 Mania. “Doing something different and new is always tricky and part of the thrill and the risk is that initially it confounds expectations. The truth is, it’s the movie and the execution of it is what all the actors depend on and I believe in Zack’s vision.”
So, in short: Affleck is working with David Fincher, will play Batman, shoot a Dennis Lehane adaptation and then possibly direct a drama about the geopolitical situation in Africa. If that doesn’t make the dude one of the more interesting Hollywood players at the moment, we don’t know what else to tell you.