By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist January 5, 2012 at 10:19AM
Matt Damon has been a busy, busy man. He spent most of the fall juggling a very full calendar, stumping for two films ("Contagion" and "We Bought A Zoo") while also filming Neill Blomkamp's massive and mysterious sci-fi project "Elysium." The plan was that heading into the New Year, he would transition behind the camera to take on his directorial debut, but it appears there has been a change.
We've been hearing this for the past couple of weeks and wanted to see how it developed, but Vulture now reports that Damon will step down from directing duties on the untitled project, but will still star in the movie. In the works for a while now, the film is based on an idea by writer Dave Eggers ("A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius," "Away We Go") but was penned by Damon and "The Office" star John Krasinski, who are both lined up to star alongside Frances McDormand. Plot details have been slim, but the story is said to be about a salesman who arrives in a small town, and finds his life turned upside down.
So why is Damon handing the reins to someone else? While Vulture cites "script issues" as the reason (surely that can only be part of the story -- how would he have issues with a script he wrote?), we've been hearing that Damon just hasn't had the time he's wanted to focus on his first directing job. Reshoots on "Elysium" have apparently run longer than expected, and combined with some other scheduling issues, Damon feels he hasn't had enough time to prep, especially as a first-time director. We have heard a potential name or two being considered as a replacement, but no one has signed on just yet.
All that said, the low budget picture (around $12 million) does still have Damon in the starring role, and we'd imagine that given the low cost, and considering it still has a major star, Warner Bros. will have no problem moving along provided the right helmer can slot in. The plan was to shoot the flim this spring, once Krasinski wraps up his duties on "The Office," and we hope that's still the case.