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Ben Affleck To Direct Tell No One Remake, Holds Actors Hostage for Argo

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood June 15, 2011 at 8:27AM

In mid-career, Ben Affleck, who has always been one of the smarter actors around, has opted to chase his potential as a writer and director. It's a lot more work, of course.
Thompson on Hollywood

In mid-career, Ben Affleck, who has always been one of the smarter actors around, has opted to chase his potential as a writer and director. It's a lot more work, of course.

Affleck's best acting to date is still Good Will Hunting, which he won an Oscar for writing with Matt Damon. Affleck also helped to write Gone Baby Gone, for which he directed his brother Casey, and his second directing venture, The Town, whose strength was undermined by too many Affleck monologues and shirtless pull-ups. Affleck doesn't have to star in his movies, but it does make them easier to finance. Affleck has been choosy about his directing projects, having turned down the likes of Warner's Superman reboot, Man of Steel. Now he's starring in his next, Argo, and will also likely appear in his freshly announced remake of Guillaume Canet's 2006 French thriller Tell No One. While The Playlist comments, "seriously Affleck, can do better than this," Affleck is well-suited for this Warner Bros./Universal project; he's a strong choice.

Chris Terrio, who also scripted Affleck's Argo, is adapting Tell No One from the French film version based on American novelist Harlam Coben's thriller. Canet's taut and entertaining thriller proved to be a sleeper crossover smart-house hit for Music Box (it's streaming on Netflix).

Argo is a recreation of the Iranian hostage crisis; Affleck is asking that his six actors live together for two weeks in a safe house prior to kicking off production, in order to illicit true claustrophobia. Vulture summarizes the Argo story:

"Six actual Hollywood actors will soon be living together in a real house, in real life, so they can all better pretend to be six real American diplomats living in a guest house pretending to be Hollywood people. Now that is some Method acting!"

This actor prep worked magic for Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams in Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine. The experience of shooting a film with Terrence Malick (pictured below, with co-star Rachel McAdams) and his experimental ways may have also inspired Affleck's approach.

Here's our interview with Affleck for The Town.

Thompson on Hollywood

[Images courtesy of Warners/Legendary and RedBud pictures]

This article is related to: Directors, Genres, Headliners, Production , IN THE WORKS, Remake, Drama, Books, Ben Affleck

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.