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I’d love to go back in time ten years, when Ben Affleck underwhelmed in the one-two gutter punch of Martin Brest’s Gigli and Mark Steven Johnson’s Daredevil, just to troll everyone’s lives by telling them that not only would Affleck jump comic companies to star as Batman, but that he would also direct a geopolitical Best Picture winner. I’m pretty sure no one would let me come back to the present. Warner Bros. is interested in getting Affleck back into awards conversations, as they have hired screenwriter Will Staples to pen an untitled large-scale geopolitical thriller for Affleck to direct and star in, with Matt Damon and Jennifer Todd’s Pearl Street Films producing.
Deadline reports the film will be set in Africa, and is based on a group of mercenaries who are hired to assassinate a brutal warlord guilty of victimizing his own citizens. This is no retread of The Expendables though, as it will mix its action with "an examination of the moral ambiguities of how philanthropy and foreign assistance veers into modern-day neocolonialism." Of course it will! It’ll also shine a light on how planning involvement into the affairs of foreign countries is never as easy as it initially seems. I’m guessing the warlord’s inner circle doesn’t take lightly to a group of outsiders trying to take over their roost.
Affleck conceived the idea himself and pitched it to Staples, whose is probably best known for co-writing the script for the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 with Academy Award winning screenwriter Paul Haggis (Crash). While none of his feature scripts have been produced yet, he wrote the first version of the Vin Diesel vehicle World’s Most Wanted, the Jeremy Renner actioner King of Heists and the Fox film Myth, which has an executive producer in James Cameron. So it’s possible we’ll know this guy’s work a little more by the time the Affleck project comes out.
Affleck has a busy slate before this will come to light, though. Beyond starring in the disappointing Runner Runner which released earlier this month, he’s currently filming the thriller Gone Girl with David Fincher, which might just make its own awards splash when it comes out next year. His next directing gig will be the period crime drama Live by Night, which he’s also starring in. And then of course, there’s Zack Snyder’s Batman vs. Superman sequel to Man of Steel. Let’s hope he can save the entire world there, and then he can worry about saving that warlord-led African community.
Check out the clip below of Affleck’s recent appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, in which he talks a little Batman.