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.
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,..you 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.
[Images courtesy of Warners/Legendary and RedBud pictures]