Even before he won his Oscar for Best Picture for "Argo," Ben Affleck wasn't lacking in possible directorial vehicles. Dennis Lehane adaptation "Live By Night," a Whitey Bulger biopic (that he told us is one more movie away), a remake of Guillaume Canet's "Tell No One," Stephen King adaptation "The Stand," Yankees flick "The Trade" and more (we go into great detail here) have all been percolating, but you can bet even more material will be crossing his desk now that that Oscar is his paperweight. And indeed, another has.
Warner Bros. has snapped up the rights to Nathaniel Philbrick's upcoming book "Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution" as a directorial vehicle for Affleck, who has already set "Argo" scribe Chris Terrio to write it. The historical tale returns to Affleck's stomping grounds of Boston to recount the battle of the Patriots against British troops in the wake of the Boston Tea Party. Here's the Amazon synopsis:
Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residents have warily maneuvered around each other until April 19, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord. In June, however, with the city cut off from supplies by a British blockade and Patriot militia poised in siege, skirmishes give way to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It would be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution to come, and the point of no return for the rebellious colonists.
Philbrick brings a fresh perspective to every aspect of the story. He finds new characters, and new facets to familiar ones. The real work of choreographing rebellion falls to a thirty-three year old physician named Joseph Warren who emerges as the on-the-ground leader of the Patriot cause and is fated to die at Bunker Hill. Others in the cast include Paul Revere, Warren’s fiancé the poet Mercy Scollay, a newly recruited George Washington, the reluctant British combatant General Thomas Gage and his more bellicose successor William Howe, who leads the three charges at Bunker Hill and presides over the claustrophobic cauldron of a city under siege as both sides play a nervy game of brinkmanship for control.
With passion and insight, Philbrick reconstructs the revolutionary landscape—geographic and ideological—in a mesmerizing narrative of the robust, messy, blisteringly real origins of America.
You can probably smell the mix of "Argo" and "Lincoln" coming off this thing, with a story brimming with American history and all kinds of thrills as well. The period setting would of course be new for Affleck, but we'd wager the tone will be right in his wheelhouse. Either way, it's in the works and probably a while off, but one to keep in the background. As Deadline notes, "Live By Night" is shaping up to be Affleck's next movie as actor, director and producer and he's currently hard at work on it. But we'd guess this won't be the last project landing in front of him in the near future.