Perhaps you sometimes forget Ben Affleck is an Oscar-winning director. Even after starring in and helming Argo, Best Picture winner of 2012 — to say nothing of sharing a trophy with Matt Damon for writing Good Will Hunting — he’s still predominantly thought of as an actor and tabloid fixture. In case you need reminding that he’s also a serious auteur, here comes news that, mere months after receiving raves for his performance in The Way Back, he’s ready to direct a movie about the making of another movie, namely Roman Polanski’s Chinatown.
As per Deadline, Affleck, film director, is looking to adapt The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood, Sam Wasson’s account of the making of the 1974 classic, starring Jack Nicholson as a private investigator who gets embroiled in a plot involving Los Angeles’ aqueducts. The book, by Sam Wasson, in part argues that Chinatown represents the last gasp of a pre-blockbuster Hollywood, before corporations started swallowing up major film studios and created the homogenous system we have today.
Affleck will also write the script, and will have the unenviable task of trying to find someone, anyone who could play Chinatown actors Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, and John Huston, to say nothing of dashing super-producer Robert Evans. He’ll also have to find someone to play Polanski, and in an age when that director’s past actions have come back into heavy public scrutiny. Affleck the Director has a couple other projects on the pipeline, but perhaps this one will get promoted to the front. If so it will be his first directorial work since his 2016 crime epic Live by Night, which was not received as lovingly as were Argo and his feature debut, Gone Baby Gone.